Why is hexagonal geometry so common in nature?

If you go out and walk around a bit, you will notice that there are many geometric shapes in nature that are not created by man: spiral geometry in a snail shell, fractal geometry on beaches, the radial symmetry of the starfish or the symmetry of the petals of a flower are just a few examples. In particular, hexagons are common in nature: beehives are the most common example; but this is certainly not the only example. Basalt columns and insect eyes also form hexagonal patterns. But what makes hexagons so special?

People who believe in sacred geometry attribute power and importance to certain geometric shapes in nature and see these geometric shapes as evidence of the order established by a supreme power in the Universe. An even smaller group within this small group is particularly with hexagons is concerned. Today, there are online communities dedicated to the worship of hexagons both symbolically and literally. These people, Hexagon Awareness Bear They thus celebrate and use imaginary terms like “transcendental hexagonal future” in their daily lives.

For those who don’t see geometry class as spiritual enlightenment, it’s a little can be exaggerated. Although the hexagons, which form the basis of this new age belief, appear surprisingly in many areas of nature, and some of their characteristics are seriously surprising, it is possible to explain most of these characteristics without resorting to to mysticism, using only secondary-level scientific knowledge. realities.

Hexagon all around us!

First, let’s take a look at some of the places in nature where we see hexagons.

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Hexagonal Clouds on Saturn

There is a continuous cloud formation at Saturn’s north pole:

But this is no ordinary cloud formation; It can be clearly observed that this formation is hexagonal in shape. Moreover, each of the six sides of this hexagon is longer than the diameter of the Earth! You can clearly see this hexagonal cloud in the photo below:

Scientists have found that this hexagon forms when you stir the water in a bucket fast enough for the water to become a hexagon. whirlwind explains it with a similar fluid mechanics mechanism.[1] When you stir a bucket of water filled to a certain height very quickly at a certain frequency, a hexagonal shape, not a circular one, is formed at the point where the forces acting on the water are balanced. whirlwind (it is also possible to obtain different geometries such as pentagon, square, triangle and ellipse with different heights and mixing frequencies):

Physical examination letters

Geological hexagons: devil’s tower and giants’ sidewalk

If we go back to Earth, to California Devil’s Tower Less than a hundred thousand years ago, a lava flow at the place known as “Devil’s Postpile” gave rise to strange rock structures. In fact, these structures are made of basalt columns, which are not very unusual geologically. But what makes them unusual is that most of the structures found in this area are hexagonal:

A similar formation is found on the coast of Northern Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway It is also located at a place called:

The formation mechanisms of these geological rocks are also clearly known: following the volcanic eruption that formed these rocks, the lava covering the region began to contract as it cooled. Due to the shrinkage, a stress formed on the rock, which caused cracks. Then these cracks dispersed with the pressure caused by their own tension and began to discharge this pressure. The angle of fracture, which most releases the stresses accumulated in the rocks, is 120 degrees, or the measure of an interior angle of a hexagon. If all the lava covering this area cooled at the same rate, the shapes of these areas would all be perfectly smooth hexagonal columns.

The Giant's Causeway in Ireland.
The Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.
Wikimedia Commons

The most famous hexagons: honeycombs

Undoubtedly, the most important natural hexagonal shapes appear in honeycombs, namely honeycombs. Seeing the world with hexagonal eyes, bees are also extraordinarily good at forming hexagons.[2] Hives are truly magnificent structures, and bee combs owe their hexagonal nature partly to chance and partly to a clever solution.

The reason why honeycombs are built in the hexagonal shape is that hexagons are the most suitable shape to utilize a given area most efficiently using the least amount of material. Any space can be filled using hexagons without gaps or overlaps. Triangles and squares can be used side by side/overlapping without gaps; however, some gaps will occur in circles and pentagons. Since hexagons are made up of repeating triangles, the mosaic they create minimizes wasted space or energy.[3]

Honeycomb, circular and hexagonal formations
Honeycomb, circular and hexagonal formations
Pixabay

For millennia, scientists believed that the hexagon was the shape that would most effectively fill a plane. This idea, however, did not appear until 1999 by Thomas C. Hales. “Honeycomb Assumption” (Eng: “The honeycomb conjecture”) proven in his article.[4]

On the other hand, something you can observe when trying to fill a flat, angular surface using shapeable (flexible) circles: Circles, square surface exactly each other when filled and not compressed enough to overlap. fabriccrawling along the edges on which they descend, spontaneously they take the form of a hexagon. Hives are basically built according to this principle and the hive thus takes on the hexagonal shape. For more information on this, you can read our article here.

Other hexagons in nature

The hexagon also plays a role in many other areas of our daily lives. For example, some crystals and snowflakes (many) are hexagonal. Both appear hexagonal to the naked eye; because their molecular structure at the microscopic scale is hexagonal:

Organic compounds are indicated by hexagons. Most of them have carbon in the main atomic chain. When one carbon atom bonds to another carbon atom, the angle of this bond is less than 120. But when six carbon atoms bond, this angle is 120. As a result, six bonded carbons (as benzene) form a perfect hexagon:

Wikimedia Commons

Conclusion

Hexagons are found everywhere in nature, from the largest planets to microscopic compounds. This abundance can be largely illuminated by scientific explanations.

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