Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breakthrough In Bubble Research At Bath

Date:
September 8, 2009
Source:
University of Bath
Summary:
A researcher from the University of Bath has found a new approach to an old geometric problem of modeling the most efficient way of packing shapes to form a foam. The discovery is not only making waves in the mathematical world, but could also lead to medical advances in creating hip replacements and replacement bone tissue for bone cancer patients.

Ruggero Gabbrielli has developed a new technique for mathematically modelling the structure of foam.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Bath

A researcher from the University of Bath has found a new approach to an old geometric problem of modelling the most efficient way of packing shapes to form a foam.

The discovery is not only making waves in the mathematical world, but could also lead to medical advances in creating hip replacements and replacement bone tissue for bone cancer patients.

The ‘Kelvin problem’, posed by Lord Kelvin in 1887, was to find the most efficient way of splitting space into cells of equal volume with the least area of surface between them.

Kelvin’s solution to the problem was a honeycomb of truncated octahedrons - shapes with six square faces and eight hexagonal faces.

A better solution was devised by physicists Weaire and Phelan at Trinity College Dublin who created a honeycomb structure which inspired the striking architecture of the Water Cube aquatic centre that featured in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Weaire-Phelan structure is composed of two different shapes: an irregular pentagonal dodecahedron (12-faced polyhedron) and a polyhedron with 14 faces.

Whilst studying the honeycomb-like structure of bone replacement materials for his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath, Ruggero Gabbrielli devised a different way of mathematically modelling foams. His structure is instead composed of four different shapes that fit together.

Whilst this new shape doesn’t beat the Weaire-Phelan structure in terms of packing efficiency, the methods he used are a new way of approaching the problem and could ultimately lead to a better solution to the Kelvin problem.

Ruggero, who has now completed his PhD and is continuing his research at Swansea University, explained: “I’m hoping that the method will lead to an even better solution of the Kelvin problem or to a proof of the Weaire-Phelan structure optimality.

“The method uses a partial differential equation, well-known in two-dimensional pattern formation. The novelty is that I’ve applied it to a three-dimensional problem to model the shape of foams.”

The structures he has made are also much closer to the structures of the foams found in nature.

His structure and methods, published in Philosophical Magazine Letters, have already grabbed the attention of mathematicians, chemists and physicists across the world.

Ruggero was recently invited to the USA and to Australia to talk about his new structure and discuss his methods with top mathematicians.

He said: “The journey to Pennsylvania was fantastic. In two weeks I met with two of the greatest mathematicians in the US - Thomas Hales and Ken Brakke - and the physicist Randall Kamien at the University of Pennsylvania.”

Physicists Barry Ninham and Stephen Hyde then invited him to Canberra, where the structure was shown to a broader audience.

Ruggero said: “It’s not just about bubbles. Three-dimensional patterns spontaneously arise in many systems nature designed.”

The project was part-funded by a grant from the IDEAS Factory, a scheme from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council that encourages collaboration between researchers from different disciplines.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gabbrielli, R. A new counter-example to Kelvin's conjecture on minimal surfaces. Philosophical Magazine Letters, 2009; 89 (8): 483 DOI: 10.1080/09500830903022651

Cite This Page:

University of Bath. "Breakthrough In Bubble Research At Bath." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902112113.htm>.
University of Bath. (2009, September 8). Breakthrough In Bubble Research At Bath. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902112113.htm
University of Bath. "Breakthrough In Bubble Research At Bath." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902112113.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 16, 2014) Japanese researcher uses an eye-sensor camera to enable a bipedal robot to balance itself, while running on a treadmill. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Lockheed Martin announced plans to develop the first-ever compact nuclear fusion reactor. But some experts said the excitement is a little premature. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) A Google Glass user was treated for Internet Addiction Disorder caused from overuse of the device. Morgan Manousos (@MorganManousos) has the details on how many hours he spent wearing the glasses, and what his symptoms were. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) The American Chemical Society’s latest video about chemistry in every day life breaks down pizza, and explains exactly why it's so delicious. Gillian Pensavalle (@GillianWithaG) has the video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins