4.3 - Modeling Fractal Growth

HandsOn Activities:

14. Building an Aggregate by Hand


11. Building an Aggregate by Computer

12. Changing Particle Movement

13. Measuring the Computer-Generated Aggregation Program


How can we describe the process by which a pattern grows (aggregates)? Can we mimic the way a charged atom (ion) in a solution dances around, then deposits on the central electrode (becomes an uncharged metal atom)?

What does it mean for an ion "to dance?'' Dancing means to stagger around randomly. A dancing ion is taking a random walk! We can use our understanding of random walks to mimic the process of electrochemical deposition.

Another word for mimic is model. We model the aggregation process using our knowledge of a random walker who staggers around and sticks to a growing structure. In the following activity you will use a 2-dimensional random walk to mimic (model) the aggregation process.


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