Limbs #1 (detail)
Limbs, installation, visualization (work in progress)
Limbs #4, drawings (work in progress)
Limbs #4, (detail)
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Limbs, or the Discontinuous Structure of Matter (work in progress)
Self-similarity seems to be one of the fundamental geometrical construction principles in nature. For millions of years, evolution has shaped organisms based on the survival of the fittest. In many plants and also organs of animals, this has led to fractal branching structures. For example, in a tree the branching structure allows the capture of a maximum amount of sun light by the leaves; the blood vessel system in a lung is similarly branched so that a maximum amount of oxygen can be assimilated. Although the self-similarity in these objects is not strict, we can identify the building blocks of the structure, the branches at different levels. The distribution of craters on the moon obeys some scaling power laws, like a fractal. However, it is generally impossible to find hierarchical building blocks for these objects as in the case of organic living matter. There is no apparent self-similarity, but still the objects look the same in a statistical sense.
Adrian Bejan, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University discovered in 1995 the Constructal Law, which addresses the fundamental principle of physics that underlies the evolution of flow systems as they change in design over time to increase flow access. It reveals that flow patterns govern the structure of the entire universe—most clearly evident within rivers, neural networks, lung design, lightning bolts, electrical circuitry, vegetation and trees. Every flow architecture on Earth follows the same order, which is a natural tendency to want to flow more easily. "The Constructal Law extends the power of physics over all of the phenomena of evolutionary design and organization, from geophysics to biology, technology, and social organization."
Constructal theory is the view that the generation of images of design (pattern, rhythm) in nature is a phenomenon of physics: ‘for a finite-size flow system to persist in time (to live) it must evolve such that it provides greater and greater access to the currents that flow through it’. This law is about the necessity of design to occur, and about the time direction of the phenomenon: the tape of the design evolution ‘movie’ runs such that existing configurations are replaced by globally easier flowing configurations. The emergence of scaling laws in inanimate (geophysical) flow systems is the same phenomenon as the emergence of allometric laws in animate (biological) flow systems.