The Power of Triangles and Their Rigidity

As a child, learning shapes is a simple act. It isn’t until later that the history of these shapes come into play. One of the main shapes that is renowned for its innovative properties and the advancement of mankind is the circle, or wheel. In reality, the circle is quite amazing as it has allowed for more efficient travel, a way to track time, and a number of other very important developments.

However, there is one other shape that is equally as important to mankind, the triangle.

triangle

I believe that the triangle has been in the shadows for far too long. The triangle is one of the most intriguing shapes as its versatility seems to know no bounds (as this picture from Wikipedia demonstrates). The triangle does more than just compliment the circle, it seems to accompany and compensate for it at every juncture from playing games to travel and providing structure.

Let’s look at the triangle in a different way

The art of billiards (pool) requires more than just a sure hand. Though the concept seems simple enough, get the right ball in the pocket at the right time, it is a very complex game of shapes. The obvious are the circular shape of the billiard ball and the rectangular shape of the table. However, those that play billiards, or even just a shoot a game of pool on a night out, realize that below the surface is a game of triangles.

The game of billiards requires intellect, cunning, and the ability to manipulate every angle to the advantage of the player. There are always three points of connection in a successful shot:

  1. The cue ball, which receives its trajectory from the stick
  2. The billiard ball, which is moved through kinetics
  3. The pocket, which is where one ultimately wants the billiard ball to end up.

Billiards perfectly displays the necessity of the triangle to the circle. Even though the idea is to get the circular object into the hole, a triangle must be in use to accomplish the goal. We even arrange the balls in a triangle to begin the game!

billiard-triangle

Whenever anyone says that they are going on a road trip or are on the way to the grocery store a circle may spring to mind. The vehicle isn’t going to move smoothly with triangular wheels after all. That being said, how exactly will the vehicle get to its destination?

We, as people, are an innovative bunch. Civil engineers and construction workers have literally opened the nation up to vehicular travel. Triangles have played a huge role in the ability to traverse from one location to another. Often there are bridges spanning all sorts of different natural structures that would limit the ability of the wheel to reach its final destination. The triangle is a natural with strength and rigidity.

Because of the triangle, both distance and structure are vastly increased in a bridge. Thus, while getting from point A to point B, the triangle supports the circle and allows it passage through areas that otherwise wouldn’t be feasible.

Though we live on a planet that holds a circular rotation and when looking at a flat representation of Earth it has a circular shape, living comfortably would be a joke if not for the triangle. Throughout time, people have learned strived for new heights when it comes to building.

From domiciles carved into a rock face to mansions and 30 story apartment buildings, we have never let something as simple as natural forces get in the way of innovation. The triangle is the most common and necessary component of building. The next time you go over a bridge, take a look at which shape it uses.

bridge-triangles

Simply put, in residential building every roof and many floors are comprised of triangles. As previously noted, the strength and rigidity provided by a triangle are unrivaled. However, the simplistic nature of the triangle makes it very easy to manipulate which has opened the construction world up to endless possibilities.

In conclusion, the triangle IS the most innovative shape. Triangles and the use of triangulation provide entertainment through billiards and even digital movies where triangulated models are used to bring life to the animation. People are able to travel in excess of 5 mile expanses over bodies of water because of the triangle. Without the triangle, structures like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Mackinac Bridge wouldn’t exist.

Bridges save both travel time and expense. Triangles allow for the existence of structures like homes and skyscrapers. Triangles have fueled the use of the circle in many ways and it’s time to give this simple shape the recognition that it deserves.

Ashley Casey – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.