Self-Assembly

Sculpture could develop by exploring dynamic movement. Sculptors interested in these developments would become more choreographers than object makers.

As Newton and Leibnitz developed calculus to enable mathematics to depict and predict dynamic systems, so too sculptors may need to consider new ways of looking at and describing this kind of sculpture.

'Water Forming Ice Crystals'

Water doesn't behave like other liquids. It's unique molecular structure causes many important anomalies. It has particular surface tension, universal solvent properties, large heat capacity and unlike other liquids becomes less dense as it freezes.

Recent research reveals that liquid water contains both high-density clumps and lower density tetrahedral structures that are the seed crystals of ice. As temperature decreases lower density tetrahedral structures proliferate until the whole body of water freezes solid. As the temperature rises again, increased molecular energy destabilises ice structures and they melt back into more chaotic liquid water configurations.

'Spiral Formations'

A collection of identical elements with a simple geometry can produce a wide vocabulary of forms and configurations in the self-assembly tanks.

Here single spirals are formed but similar elements could be used to self assemble the double helix structures of DNA.

'Salt crystals'

A small amount of water starts to dissolve a salt crystal.

In sodium chloride salt, the oxygen atoms of the water molecules will attach to the sodium and the hydrogen atoms will attach to the chlorine. If there are enough water molecules they will pull the crystal apart. When the energy level rises with increased temperature the water molecules will evaporate off as steam leaving the salt crystal to reform in its characteristic cubic lattice.

'Rotaxane'

By replicating specific self-assembly conditions the 'Giants of the Infinitesimal' are able to simulate molecular activity. Rotaxane, shown here, is a mechanically interlocked molecular architecture.

Rotaxane is of interest in nano-electronics as it has the potential to be developed into a nano-scale switch.

'Laocoon'

Scientists are able to synthesise Molecular Knots and Molecular Boromean rings. These mechanically interlocked molecular architectures have properties that differ from covalently bonded molecules.

Examples, like cysteine knots, cyclotides or lasso-peptides such as microcin can also be found in biological systems in nature

'Catenation'

Giants of the Infinitesimal, by replicating specific self-assembly conditions are able to simulate molecular activity. 'Catenation', shown here, is where molecular rings form interlocking links of a chain.

'Graphene'

Graphene self-assembly by the 'Giants of the Infinitesimal'

'Cuboid Forms'

Using the same basic components under, different conditions, more discrete rectilinear figures and cubic objects can be generated.