Polynomials in Wood
What has got to do with wood? Like you until a few days ago I would have said “Probably nothing” then I came across this chart:
Where it relates to how the bending strength of wood changes depending on the number of knots. From this lovely book, that I found at the local second hand book shop during Samuel Hansen’s recent visit to Fayetteville:
Which, is full of other equations and models, such as this one:
which is then explored for several values of n.
Some of the tables caught my eye just for beautiful way that they present information:
Finally, its not just equations, there is also a collection of patterns, along with the intriguing chapter on Structural Design of Sandwich Construction (probably not what I am thinking about):
All this points out to me, once again how mathematics can be a powerful tool to help study anything. I know that when it comes down to it this is really just the well established link between mathematics and engineering, but, as a material, wood is so much more accessible and visceral than, say, concrete. For some a book on wood might even answer the eternal question of “How am I going to use this?” but it does at least show that quintic polynomials really do come up in real situations!