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Cyclic growth of hierarchical structures in the aluminum-silicate system.

Dyonizy A, Kaminker V, Wieckowska J, Krzywicki T, Pantaleone J, Nowak P, Maselko J - J Syst Chem (2015)

Bottom Line: This system may provide a simple model system to search for universal laws governing the growth of complex hierarchical structures.Graphical AbstractSide view of the chemical structure made from many vertical cones to form a chemical metropolis.The tallest structure is 17 cm high.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Chemistry, Technical University, Wroclaw, Poland.

ABSTRACT

Background: Biological structures grow spontaneously from a seed, using materials supplied by the environment. These structures are hierarchical, with the 'building blocks' on each level constructed from those on the lower level. To understand and model the processes that occur on many levels, and later construct them, is a difficult task. However interest in this subject is growing. It is now possible to study the spontaneous growth of hierarchical structures in simple, two component chemical systems.

Results: Aluminum-silicate systems have been observed to grow into structures that are approximately conical. These structures are composed of multiple smaller cones with several hierarchical levels of complexity. On the highest level the system resembles a metropolis, with a horizontal resource distribution network connecting vertical, conical structures. The cones are made from many smaller cones that are connected together forming a whole with unusual behavior. The growth is observed to switch periodically between the vertical and horizontal directions.

Conclusion: A structure grown in a dish is observed to have many similarities to other hierarchical systems such as biological organisms or cities. This system may provide a simple model system to search for universal laws governing the growth of complex hierarchical structures. Graphical AbstractSide view of the chemical structure made from many vertical cones to form a chemical metropolis. The tallest structure is 17 cm high.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Plot of height versus width for the structures found in Experiment A.
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Fig2: Plot of height versus width for the structures found in Experiment A.

Mentions: In the beginning the density of the metal salt solution is slightly larger than the surrounding silicate solution (see Table 1) so the metal salt solution spreads out along the bottom of the container to a width of about 0.9 cm. As the structure grows the metals salt solution decreases in concentration and density so that it becomes less dense than the surrounding silicate solution causing the growth to change from horizontal to vertical. A few small cones grow vertically and these eventually (at the time of the first vertical line in Figure 1 (right)) merge to form one, single cone. As pumping continues this conical structure grows in both height and width. While the overall structure generally resembles that of a cone, occasionally the vertical growth of the cone bifurcates to form small, separate tips for the cone, however these tips soon merge to form a single cone again. The ratio of the height to the width of the structure is not constant but instead the growth switches between the horizontal and vertical directions, see Figure 1 (right) and Figure 2. In these plots the height is defined as the height of the tallest tower and the width is as measured at the base of the structure in the photo from the side. The switching does not occur at regular intervals in time, but it does occur at somewhat regular intervals in the scale length defined asFigure 2


Cyclic growth of hierarchical structures in the aluminum-silicate system.

Dyonizy A, Kaminker V, Wieckowska J, Krzywicki T, Pantaleone J, Nowak P, Maselko J - J Syst Chem (2015)

Plot of height versus width for the structures found in Experiment A.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4374113&req=5

Fig2: Plot of height versus width for the structures found in Experiment A.
Mentions: In the beginning the density of the metal salt solution is slightly larger than the surrounding silicate solution (see Table 1) so the metal salt solution spreads out along the bottom of the container to a width of about 0.9 cm. As the structure grows the metals salt solution decreases in concentration and density so that it becomes less dense than the surrounding silicate solution causing the growth to change from horizontal to vertical. A few small cones grow vertically and these eventually (at the time of the first vertical line in Figure 1 (right)) merge to form one, single cone. As pumping continues this conical structure grows in both height and width. While the overall structure generally resembles that of a cone, occasionally the vertical growth of the cone bifurcates to form small, separate tips for the cone, however these tips soon merge to form a single cone again. The ratio of the height to the width of the structure is not constant but instead the growth switches between the horizontal and vertical directions, see Figure 1 (right) and Figure 2. In these plots the height is defined as the height of the tallest tower and the width is as measured at the base of the structure in the photo from the side. The switching does not occur at regular intervals in time, but it does occur at somewhat regular intervals in the scale length defined asFigure 2

Bottom Line: This system may provide a simple model system to search for universal laws governing the growth of complex hierarchical structures.Graphical AbstractSide view of the chemical structure made from many vertical cones to form a chemical metropolis.The tallest structure is 17 cm high.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Chemistry, Technical University, Wroclaw, Poland.

ABSTRACT

Background: Biological structures grow spontaneously from a seed, using materials supplied by the environment. These structures are hierarchical, with the 'building blocks' on each level constructed from those on the lower level. To understand and model the processes that occur on many levels, and later construct them, is a difficult task. However interest in this subject is growing. It is now possible to study the spontaneous growth of hierarchical structures in simple, two component chemical systems.

Results: Aluminum-silicate systems have been observed to grow into structures that are approximately conical. These structures are composed of multiple smaller cones with several hierarchical levels of complexity. On the highest level the system resembles a metropolis, with a horizontal resource distribution network connecting vertical, conical structures. The cones are made from many smaller cones that are connected together forming a whole with unusual behavior. The growth is observed to switch periodically between the vertical and horizontal directions.

Conclusion: A structure grown in a dish is observed to have many similarities to other hierarchical systems such as biological organisms or cities. This system may provide a simple model system to search for universal laws governing the growth of complex hierarchical structures. Graphical AbstractSide view of the chemical structure made from many vertical cones to form a chemical metropolis. The tallest structure is 17 cm high.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus