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indicating English Moire (spelled: mwareh), moire pattern, moire fringes

Indicating German Moiré, moiré muster

Indicating French Moiré


The word moiré has its root in the special shining appearance of the mohair wool (exact etymology of the word varies according sources...).

Moiré pattern were seen wherever a repetitive structure is overlaid with another structure and the line elements are nearly superimposed.

Everyday examples include the patterns produced by overlapping window insect screens or by the folds in a nylon curtain. A very good example is created by the railing of a bridge seen from a distance. Due to the perspective the rail farer away gets the smaller spacing of the rods. This difference to the spacing of the nearer railing creates a regular pattern. If you move, this pattern moves much faster across the railing (superimposing two similar structures, which differ only lightly in scale, creates a similar difference pattern of large scale).

Two bridge railings Square grid superimposed

The following image from a newspaper demonstrates the moiré effect on the cloth of the right person. The image obviously was re-scanned from an already scanned image (a third scanning for this GIF image just enhanced the effect).

Moiré pattern on a newspaper image

The moiré effect has many applications to mathematics and physics including theoretical physics. A common application is measurement of small differences. The smaller the difference in grid width, the larger the virtual grid presented by the moiré effect. In the printing trade the effect is used for screen determinators (screen finders):

Printer's screen determiner Screen determiner showing 71 lines to the inch
An enlargement of the fan pattern used in screen determiners. (The moiré effect here is a result of the low image resolution) When the fan pattern is superimposed to a print screen, the moiré shows the grid width - in this example 71 lines to the inch.

[To top/bottom of page] More moiré patterns

Copying a figure with regular patterns upon itself on a slightly different position creates the various moiré patterns. The moiré pattern often can be seen even better with blurred vision (e.g. take your glasses off).

Figure with regular pattern Two of the same figures are super-imposed on a slightly different position.
 Concentric circles  Concentric circles superimposed
 Fan pattern  Fan  patterns superimposed
 Radial lines  Radial lines superimposed
 Square grid  Square grid superimposed

[To top/bottom of page] Sources

Optical Design in Motion, booklet and experimentation materials Edmund Scientific Co., Barrington, New Jersey
Also available from Spektrum der Wissenschaft, Deutschland Indicate German

Scan Graphics Designometer. Scangraphic Dr. Böger GmbH, D-2000 Wedel/Hamburg.

PostScript file to generate some of the patterns from above on your printer (by Klaus Daube).

PostScript file by I Amidror, EPFL creating 3 nice patterns.

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