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ferriswheel9ndam9 t1_jefmbby wrote

Hexagons are bestagons.


_Dnikeb t1_jefotiw wrote

Yup. Grab a bunch of straws or balloons, press them together, they're going to spontaneously arrange themselves into hexagons.

Also if you examine a bee or wasp comb from up close, you'll realize the outermost cells are still mostly round, because they're not completely surrounded by other cells.


proggR t1_jeg0hus wrote

Another fun experiment that will take some wonder out of the "but how did so many civs arrive at a pyramid?!"

Take a square box and put it in a sandbox, and then overload with sand it until the scoops just run down the side and no longer "stack"... voila... you've just made a pyramid! lol


TruthOf42 t1_jegadp6 wrote

Don't you mean a cone?


proggR t1_jegbon7 wrote

Given the square shape of the container, from the time I've played in the sandbox it comes out with proper edges like a pyramid (though clearly rounded to some degree). Or if its a rectangular container you'll get something like an Acadian style roof.


pongnguy t1_jefy678 wrote

Good observation! So it's not surface tension as claimed in the article. If it was only surface tension, I think isolated circular tubes would solidify into a hexagon as well.

I notice a lot of research papers exagerate their findings, and in some cases are just plain wrong, some fraudulently so (see Alzheimer's research scandal).


craigdahlke OP t1_jeg14zk wrote

Not so. The article is not exaggerating anything here, if you read it carefully. As another user pointed out, an isolated cell will conform to a circle. The crucial point here is that there is a 3-way junction between the cells that pulls equally in all 3 directions. And it makes sense if you think about it as well. 360 degrees (all directions) divided equally into 3 (surface tensions pulling equally in 3 directions) you get 120 degrees. Which is also, you guessed it, the interior angle of each vertex of a hexagon!

The example with the bundle of straws works on a similar concept, except instead of pulling, you are applying a force to the perimeter of a circle from 6 different directions. 360/6 = 60 degrees, the central angle made by dividing the perimeter into 6 straight sections (I. E. a hexagon).


dougglatt69 t1_jefzzr2 wrote

Actually you've got it backwards. Surface tension is going to pull an isolated cell into a circle as it minimizes length. Of the cell walls. When the circular cells are adjacent. The hexagon shape minimizes the length of the cell walls for adjacent cells


heisdeadjim_au t1_jegi9sz wrote

I did this yesterday. You're completely correct.

Chef wanted some Australian native bee honeycomb as an accoutriment to a dish. We got delivered the frame from the hive today.

Fascinating, and, rather tasty!


Fetlocks_Glistening t1_jefnfsc wrote

Lying on the couch is the most energetically comfortable condition. Hexagon is some sort of yoga for overachievers


XForce23 t1_jeg109i wrote

"most energetically favorable conformation" = easiest shape to achieve tessellation in other words. Achieves the most area with the smallest perimeter and does not waste any space in between each shape


Landlubber77 t1_jegjcis wrote

So next time someone tells you to mind your own beeswax tell them it's unnecessary because it will achieve the most energetically favorable conformation all on its own.


Dante-Grimm t1_jefsaub wrote

Charles Darwin wrote about this in Origin when he was researching the adaptation of instinct. Someday I should go back and read the whole book.


RubALlamaDingDong t1_jefjq0l wrote

Took me a minute to realize they weren't talking about the kids' cereal.


SmokeyBare t1_jefmcd4 wrote

Woh, it's just cereal. No reason adults can't enjoy it too.


sooprvylyn t1_jefzh4i wrote

Well, adults can get any cereal they want, and while honeycomb is kinda nice, is it really the one you choose when you get to have anything you want?

Its the "kids consolation prize cereal" when your nutritionally responsible mom wont get the terrible-for-you sugary one you really wanted.


raltyinferno t1_jeg1m54 wrote

What? Crazy talk. Honeycombs were my unhealthy cereal of choice. My mom would never buy sugary cereal, so when I went to one of my friends' houses he'd have the full selection, and honeycombs were my favorite of them.


sooprvylyn t1_jeg3men wrote

Look, i ate the hell out of em as a kid, and I wouldn't turn a bowl down today. They arent bad, and were tollerable for my mom on the sugar scale.

That said, if i want a sugar-bomb cereal ive got a few items further up the list im gonna go for first.


raltyinferno t1_jeg4d48 wrote

It might have been that because I grew up mostly with low sugar cereal the ultra sugar bomb cereals were too sweet for me by contrast.


proggR t1_jeg025w wrote

What, you don't like honeycombed shaped styrofoam? Impossible! What's not to love!...


sowrdman51 t1_jegptqd wrote

Technically anything that happens happens because it’s the most energetically favorable conformation


5_on_the_floor t1_jegqqlk wrote

This solves the mystery of how “know” to build hexagons. They don’t lol.


Akiasakias t1_jegyksg wrote

I wonder if something similar is happening at Saturns polar region. No one can explain that hexagon yet.

It's not solid, and surface tension should mean jack at that scale. But some force is creating the same shape.