Pattern insight + emergence

Delving beneath the surface of life at Patternity Studio



Malena MazzaAGED PATHWAYS Photo: Malena Mazza

As a surface dries or comes under stress, seemingly abstract formations of wrinkles occur. Researchers at MIT have come up with a mathematical equation that can predict the patterns these natural contours will take across curved surfaces.

“If you look at skin, there’s a harder layer of tissue, and underneath is a softer layer, and you see these wrinkling patterns that make fingerprints,” says Jörn Dunkel, an assistant professor of mathematics at MIT. “Could you, in principle, predict these patterns? It’s a complicated system, but there seems to be something generic going on, because you see very similar patterns over a huge range of scales.”

1-wrinkleprediPhoto: Norbert Stoop

Scientists are now able to forecast how varying forces and shapes of surfaces determine the shape of the wrinkles – which range from regular hexagon like formations to swirling labyrinths.

Find out more about their wrinkle-based research…