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Published by: IIRemmyII on Aug 07, 2010
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A tessellated plane seen in street pavement.A
of the planeis a collection of   plane figuresthat fills the plane with no overlaps and no gaps. One may also speak of tessellations of the parts of the plane or of other surfaces. Generalizations to higher dimensions are also possible. Tessellationsfrequently appeared in theart of M.C. Escher . Tessellations are seen throughout art history, from ancient architecture to modern art.In Latin,
was a small cubical piece of  clay, stoneor glassused to makemosaics.
The word "tessella" means "small square" (from "tessera", square, which in its turn is fromthe Greek word for "four"). It corresponds with the everyday term
which refers toapplications of tessellation, often made of glazedclay.
Wallpaper groups
Tilings withtranslational symmetrycan be categorized bywallpaper group,of which 17 exist. All seventeen of these patterns are known to exist in theAlhambra  palace inGranada, Spain. Of the three regular tilings two are in the category
and one is in
Tessellations and color
If this parallelogram pattern is colored before tiling it over a plane, seven colors arerequired to ensure each complete parallelogram has a consistent color that is distinct fromthat of adjacent areas. (To see why, we compare this tiling to the surface of aTorus.) If wetile before coloring, only four colors are needed.When discussing a tiling that is displayed in colors, to avoid ambiguity one needs to specifywhether the colors are part of the tiling or just part of its illustration. See alsocolor insymmetry.Thefour color theoremstates that for every tessellation of a normal Euclidean plane, with aset of four available colors, each tile can be colored in one color such that no tiles of equalcolor meet at a curve of positive length. Note that the coloring guaranteed by the four-color theorem will not in general respect the symmetries of the tessellation. To produce acoloring which does, as many as seven colors may be needed, as in the picture at right.
Tessellations with quadrilaterals
Copies of an arbitraryquadrilateralcan form a tessellation with 2-fold rotational centers atthe midpoints of all sides, and translational symmetry with as minimal set of translationvectors a pair according to the diagonals of the quadrilateral, or equivalently, one of theseand the sum or difference of the two. For an asymmetric quadrilateral this tiling belongs towallpaper group p2. As fundamental domain we have the quadrilateral. Equivalently, wecan construct a parallelogram subtended by a minimal set of translation vectors, startingfrom a rotational center. We can divide this by one diagonal, and take one half (a triangle)
as fundamental domain. Such a triangle has the same area as the quadrilateral and can beconstructed from it by cutting and pasting.
Regular and irregular tessellations
Hexagonal tessellation of a floor A
is a highly symmetric tessellation made up of congruent regular   polygons. Only three regular tessellations exist: those made up of equilateral triangles, squares, or hexagons. A
uses a variety of regular polygons; thereare eight of these. The arrangement of polygons at every vertex point is identical. An
edge-to-edge tessellation
is even less regular: the only requirement is that adjacent tiles onlyshare full sides, i.e. no tile shares a partial side with any other tile. Other types of tessellations exist, depending on types of figures and types of pattern. There are regular versus irregular, periodicversus aperiodic,symmetric versus asymmetric, andfractal  tesselations, as well as other classifications.Penrose tilingsusing two different polygons are the most famous example of tessellationsthat createaperiodicpatterns. They belong to a general class of aperiodic tilings that can beconstructed out of self-replicatingsets of polygons by using recursion. A
monohedral tiling 
is a
in which all tiles are congruent. TheVoderberg tiling  discovered byHans Voderbergin 1936, which is the earliest known spiral tiling. The unit tile is a bent enneagon. TheHirschhorn tilingdiscovered by Michael Hirschhornin the 1970s. The unit tile is an irregular  pentagon.
Tessellations and computer graphics

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