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Light interference stress pattern on petri dishes

Light interference stress pattern on petri dishes

H150/0032

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Credit

DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.

Caption

Coloured light interference patterns on an assortment of plastic laboratory petri dishes. When photographed through cross-polarised white light some transparent plastics (polystyrene in this case) display coloured interference effects, according to the pattern of residual stress within the plastic (a result of manufacturing). Areas of similar colour represent regions under similar degrees of stress. This phenomenon, known as photoelasticity, is utilised in engineering situations. Plastic models of bridges, gears, axles, etc may be made and subjected to proportional loads in order to predict the stress patterns that might occur in the real objects.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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