Friday, January 06, 2012

McLaren's floor tiles

The BBC recently broadcast a documentary on McLaren's new supercar, the MP4-12C. In the opening minutes of the programme, we follow Ron Dennis around the immaculate McLaren Technology Centre. As Ron strides across the lakefront atrium, he points out a broken floor tile, and expresses his annoyance: "The reality is, when it's changed, it'll be imperfection, because the colour won't match. Tiles come in batches. You can see this one here's been changed, [pointing to a darker tile.] Doesn't that bug you? It bugs me. Big time."

In fact, rather than tiles from different batches being of a different hue, in this case the reason a new tile stands out is probably that the old ones have been subjected to the daylight for a period of time, and due to the slow photodissociation of the pigments inside, will gradually be growing lighter in colour. Hence, a new tile looks darker simply because it's been exposed to daylight for a shorter period of time.

There is, then, a possible means by which McLaren can mitigate this chromo-tessellatory problem: Purchase a sufficient number of spare tiles at the outset, and then allocate a backroom at the MTC for the purpose of exposing these backup tiles to the correct diurnally-averaged spectrum and intensity of artificial sunlight. When a frontline ('customer-facing') tile suffers a fracture, the replacement will have endured the same amount of photodissociation, and will be indistinguishable in colour from its two-dimensional siblings. Problem solved.

Hummingbird said...

Can a two-dimensional object exist in a three-dimensional world?

Gordon McCabe said...

Not exactly, no! Although, mathematically speaking, an n-dimensional manifold contains n-1 dimensional submanifolds. Solids, however, don't correspond to manifolds.

Sam Laird said...

We all have our sensitivities, and one of mine is when a blog post is amended because someone lacks a sense of humour. You can see one here that's been changed. Doesn't that bug you? It bugs me. Big time.

Gordon McCabe said...

Indeed, well-spotted, the peridynamics post was amended on request.

corner1 said...

Have a look at this video when you get a chance: