Dear Ma227 Students:
As you may know, we are here in the maintenance department at Wesleyan are frequently beset with sticky problems that demand efficient and effective solutions. It is to facilitate our dealing with one such that we are contacting you. With disturbing frequency we find ourselves obligated to wrap the pipes of all sorts with insulating tape---one example of which is that of the pipes that run steam from the heating plant to various parts of campus.
While we have in past proceeded in a heuristic manner when determining the length of the tape required to so wrap a given pipe, the angle at which it will be wrapped, and so forth, we would like to have some sort of easy formula or formulas that would allow this (these) calculation(s) to be made without guesswork. It is to accomplish this that we are contacting you. It would be ideal if your analysis were sufficiently general to address issues such as how to deal with the end of the pipes, tape overlap, and curved pipes (a second example of cases in which we are forced to insulate pipes is in insulating the traps of drains to prevent wheelchair users from being burned from contact with them).
It is difficult to describe the anticipation we experience as we await your conclusions. From contacts with your estimable professor, the inimitable Dr. P. Gavin LaRose, we understand that you will be giving presentations of your conclusions on Friday, September 3, and will be submitting your final papers on the matter by the following Wednesday.