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Model (physical)

From Academic Kids

A physical model is used in various contexts to mean a physical representation of some thing. That thing may be a single item or object (for example, a bolt) or a large system (for example, the Solar System).

The geometry of the model and the object it represents are often similar in the sense that one is a rescaling of the other; in such cases the scale is an important characteristic. However, in many cases the similarity is only approximate or even intentionally distorted. Sometimes the distortion is systematic with e.g. a fixed scale horizontally and a larger fixed scale vertically when modelling topography of a large area (as opposed to a model of a smaller mountain region, which may well use the same scale horizontally and vertically, and show the true slopes).

Physical models in science and technology allow us to simulate or visualize something about the thing it represents. A model in this sense is a physical object such as an architectural model of a projected building or an existing one. Possible technical uses of an architectural model is to facilitate visualization of internal relationships within the structure or external relationships of the structure to the environment. Other uses of models in this sense are as toys.
Part of the one-tenth scale model of Bourton-on-the-Water at Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England
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Part of the one-tenth scale model of Bourton-on-the-Water at Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England


A physical model of something large is usually smaller, and of something very small is larger. A physical model of something that can move, like a vehicle or machine, may be completely static, or have parts that can be moved manually, or be powered. A physical model may show inner parts that are normally not visible. The purpose of a physical model on a smaller scale may be to have a better overview, for testing purposes, as hobby or toy. The purpose of a physical model on a larger scale may be to see the structure of things that are normally too small to see properly or to see at all, for example a model of an insect or of a molecule.

A physical model of an animal shows the animals physical composition without it walking or flying away, and without danger, and if the real animal is not available. A soft model of an animal is popular among children and some adults as cuddly toy.

A model of a person may e.g. be a doll, a statue, and in fiction a robotic humanoid, e.g. the mechas in the movie A.I..

A model is a 3D alternative for a 2D representation such as a drawing or photograph, or in the case of a globe, a 3D, undistorted alternative for a flat world map.

Even compared with a set of drawings of photographs, it better enables looking at it from all sides, and it also allows feeling it. The former is sometimes also enabled by certain computer software.

See also

Physical models

de:Modell pt:Modelo

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