Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Fade Away

April 28th, 2011 by

A lot of people who dislike tattoos use the logic that a tattoo might look cool now, but it certainly won’t once you’re old.  Personally I think that this is a total rubbish bit of logic, mostly because worrying about what your tattoos look like is probably the least of your worries once (and if) you become old.

If however, you do firmly stand by this rule of being frightened of what your tattoo might one day look like, perhaps you can now take some comfort in knowing that a new mathematical model has been created by Ian Eames, a student at University College London.  The model monitors the spread of ink particles beneath the skin, allowing Eames to see to what degree a tattoo will blur or fade given the time to do so.

Tattoo over time

‘Ian Eames, a reader in fluid mechanics at University College London, who has published details of the model in Mathematics Today and , said small details in a tattoo were lost first while thicker lines were less affected, and larger tattoos fared better in appearance than smaller ones. The details of complex patterns are lost after about 10 years.

Eames’s model enables him to estimate the movement of ink particles and predict how a particular design will change with time. “The dye spreads in some sense like heat spreading along a metal bar. But the rate of spreading is very, very small and takes many years to spread a few millimetres,” he said.’

I’m not sure exactly what use this model could be put to.  I mean, are we meant to have them set up in tattoo studios so that tattooists can show potential customers what their tattoo will look like 40 years from now?  Hardly seems practical.  Judging by the photos of the work that the model does, it seems to me that an equal prediction can be achieved by taking an out of focus photo of a tattoo.

What is this guy wasting his time with stuff like this anyway?  I mean, he’s at University.  Shouldn’t he be figuring out important stuff, like how to build a bong that makes sandwiches every time you or your friends take a hit?  Sheesh, some people just don’t understand the importance of higher education.

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