Tags: materials materialsscience qualitycontrol roguetesting testing

In physics, the term ‘homogeneity’ refers to something that is the same in every point in space. And we say that something is ‘uniform’ when its properties do not spatially vary. Subtle differences, but the former points to the sameness in composition, the later refers to the sameness in appearance or behavior. Both impart function.

Bulk water transport through gypsum sheathing serves as a perfect example. Here, I show water traced with fluorescent dye as it moves beyond a cracked facer and into the panel’s pore structure, which is neither homogeneous nor uniform. We see how a larger pore – an air void – serves as a reservoir for that water.

At the micro-scale, building materials vary. But we view them and evaluate them at the macro-scale. The difference is how things really work and how things sometimes go wrong.