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Tag archives: reflection

‘Death ray’ reflections from skyscrapers modelled by scientists

by Michael Bishop, who is the IOP’s press officer

Model mirror segments

(Courtesy: EJP)

The designer of London’s Walkie Talkie skyscraper has come under scrutiny this week as reports of flaming bicycle seats and melting cars have resulted in a temporary scaffold being erected at street level to block the intense reflection of the Sun’s rays as they beat off the curved building.

One thing you can’t say is that nobody saw this coming.

In a study published last summer in the European Journal of Physics (EJP), two researchers from Germany performed a number of experiments that gave an in-depth explanation of why some skyscrapers have these undesired effects.

In addition to a number of computer simulations that investigated the reflecting effects of a building’s height, width and curvature, as well as the angle and position of the Sun, the researchers also performed experiments on a scale model (right) of the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas.


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