Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Pentagram and Structural Strength
Name: Kim M.
Status: other
Grade: other
Location: UT 
Country: N/A
Date: 7/19/2005


Question:
I am interested in the strength of the five-pointed star. One of your "ask a scientist" answers suggested that this star was the strongest fortress geometric figure. Where can I go to read more about its history? Was it used to defend cities or castles or is its defensive structure only theoretical?


Replies:
From a structural point of view ( my field) the triangle is the strongest element. Buckminster Fuller used the triangle for his dome. So , while I see a relation to the star, I think, from the rest of your question that your interest is for toward fortresses. There, more factors are involved, as defensibility etc. Issues beyond my knowledge.

Regarding where to find information, the obvious answer is the Internet. I am finding that while Google is normally my first choice, Yahoo sometimes is a good lead for questions.

James Przewoznik


To my knowledge, 5 pointed stars were never used in castle designs. (probably due to greatly reduced internal area for storing provisions) The best place I can think to look for that information would be a study of castles and other fortifications. (history, mostly)

As for it being a strong defensive structure, keep in mind that any attempt to assault any area other than the tip of a point exposes attacking forces to defence from two different walls, at radically different angles. Which means the only way to attack the walls of such a castle are to expose oneself to attack from all sides.

Ryan Belscamper



Click here to return to the Engineering Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory