Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Molecular development, monomers and polymers

I started with a 3D monomer, however, it had a very weak base of just one legos piece. Because of this the polymer that was created was skinny and unstable. Each additional monomer that was placed added to the complexity of the polymer. It gave the polymer a different look/character. Yet the polymer had a limit as to how complex it could be due to physical constraints. The amount of large legos pieces needed became scarce thus making it impossible to make anymore alike monomers. In turn making it unfeasible to add to the polymer.


I started building monomers just with 5 pieces of legos and connected the five parts of the legos and made it into polymers (1st and 2nd picture). The last picture is the result of combination of complex polymers addition with monomers connected to each other. Comparing to the first step I took from 5 pieces of legos, the amount of legos at the last part is uncountable and has more 3D shape.
            This exercise reflects to the reading Nano modeling with Lego Bricks, showing the different steps of how simple “monomer” could transfer to series of monomers to polymer to complex polymer. This lab makes the students to ask different questions on stability and strength of legos based on their structures.  

In terms of constraints, the types of pieces we had really limited our building options. In the end, we were all scrambling for the last 2x2 pieces. When those ran out, we were forced to use different pieces to continue building our monomer. This could be viewed as a mutation of some kind, because we have to adapt and change to nature’s limitations.  

My original goal was to use this monomer to build a strand, but soon I realised that my structure was just too fragile for me to do anything. Therefore I changed my monomer into a much more reinforced structure by increasing the conjunctions between each block.

And as I developed my structure, I realized that becoming complex doesn’t mean just increase the length. As the article point out, “The subunits are attached at some angle, perhaps various angles, probably not in a straight line. As new units are attached they begin to interact with each other.

It became a helix structure as I expected, but as more subunits that were added with different angles, it started to look different


Even though our lego constructions (polymers) turned out to be complex structures, they didn’t have to be “complex” in the way we understood them. Because we were developing them from the ground up, we could see the individual, simple monomers that made up our polymers. I feel I developed a better understanding of polymers in general because I knew I wasn’t looking at one complex structure, but an amalgamation of different parts.

I started with a Z shape monomer. This allowed me to build in a pattern
while also building up. Eventually, my wall reached 5 levels high, by just duplicating this piece. It was amazing how complex the creation got as it was built more and more. I could see the monomers combining to make a complex sculpture. I also saw many patterns emerging, not only in the building itself, but even in the shadows that streamed through the gaps in the wall. This experiment helps us understand how life comes from the smallest building blocks by using, well, building blocks to simulate how organic structures are made. it ‘s amazing to think how much effort it took to build a relatively simple structure here, and how much more complex the organic constructions within our body must be.

A monomer starts it all. Choosing a symmetrical monomer leads to a structure that is repetitive and neat. When you make an asymmetrical monomer, the polymer is not the most perfect repeating structure. My structure was a touch asymmetrical therefore when I combined the monomers I attached them in a way that turned the overall structure into a symmetrical one.

No comments:

Post a Comment