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Basic Geometric Definitions

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The Warp and the Weft

Credit: WebTreats
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/webtreatsetc/4703332971/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

How can a plane be made up of lines? A closer look at your clothing can help you imagine how many lines, close together, can come close to being a plane. Look at your shirt sleeve, your jeans, or another article of clothing through a magnifying glass. What do you see?

Millions of Threads, Working Together

When a weaver makes cloth, she uses a special frame called a loom. The loom has threads in hundreds of vertical lines called warp. She threads another strand of thread, called the weft, through the warp. When she weaves all the lines of thread tightly together, she creates a solid piece of cloth.

Credit: Clem Rutter
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:QSMM_Butterworth_%26_Dickinson_Loom_2681.JPG
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Skilled weavers can work with many different fabrics and create beautiful patterns. Today, much weaving is done in factories, on giant mechanical looms. These machines can weave tiny threads so tightly that it’s almost impossible to see all the threads that make up a fabric. The more threads a piece of fabric contains, the more expensive it is. Manufacturers measure thread count by the number of threads in a square inch. A set of sheets with a thread count of 1200 is often much more expensive than a 300-thread set.

See for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYWlevX7Kw0 

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Today, scientists have learned how to weave fabrics out of materials like carbon. Carbon fibers can produce a material that’s very lightweight but very strong. Read the article below to learn more.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/automobiles/carbon-fiber-light-and-strong-arrives-where-its-most-needed.html?_r=0

In what ways is a woven fabric a good model of a plane? In what ways is it a poor model of a plane?

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