Sean Angele of Modern Stainless in Houston constructed a circular stainless-steel two-rail display frame, stainless-steel canister stanchions, and stainless-steel top-rail supports for “Heavy Metal.” All stainless steel is beautifully polished. The display features five high-definition computer monitors, with four smaller monitors spread uniformly around the perimeter of the circular rails and attached to four of the canisters. Both the 15” and the 23” high-definition monitors sitting just inside the display rails show the video “Heavy Metal Fusion.”

Four speakers are embedded in the four canisters not carrying monitors. They amplify the music which sets the atmosphere for the Heavy Metal theme. Three DVD players feed the monitors and the speakers.

Video Production: Art — and Math

An especially exciting component of the display is the psychedelic video, “Heavy Metal Fusion.” “Fusion” takes the themes of muscle cars, heavy metal music, and social rebellion and blends them in a blaze of sound, fire, and motion.

The video was designed and constructed by Rice University art and mathematics student Josef Sifuentes, with musical assistance from Rich Tapia, Jr. Graphical effects for “Heavy Metal Fusion” were created using mathematical simulation of fluid flow governed by the Navier-Stokes partial differential equations. Sifuentes spent hundreds of hours on the world’s largest supercomputer to create the special effects. He won the Rice University James Waters Prize for Creative Engineering for his construction of “Heavy Metal Fusion.”

A Touch of Fire

A section of the video shows the car, filled with molten red and orange hues, moving through a field of flames. Another section shows upper and lower boundary layers of colored fiery fluids fighting for space at the trailing edge of the car and leading to a phenomenon known as “vortex shedding.” These are amazing, high-tech special effects.


A Special Mission

Dr. Tapia not only uses the video for car shows, but also as part of his educational outreach programs to K-12 students. He has presented “Heavy Metal Fusion” to thousands of students and teachers throughout the U.S. In November 2007, the video was included in a presentation for Houston area students at the Houston Autorama.

“Heavy Metal Fusion” turns kids on to show cars and to math.


The Guitar

The final touch of the display is the guitar that symbolically integrates all the major components present in the Heavy Metal theme and video.

The monster evoking Iron Maiden’s Eddie, appears on the back; on the front is a vivid orange flame pattern.

The guitar revolves on its platform, reflecting both design concepts by turns and balancing the presentation between the two themes.


Go on to the next section, Selected Honors,

. . . or back to the Table of Contents.