Author(s): F. Carpi, A. Carpi & M. A. Russo
Helical or coiled structures are very common in several biological materials,
such as proteins and nucleic acids.
They appear also at a macroscopic level in
certain human organs, as in the case of the spiral anatomy of the heart muscle
bands or the helical twisting of the umbilical cord.
Further examples can be
found in the rest of the natural world, such as in the structure of certain trees or
even in the agglomeration of galactic nebulae and in plasma jets of quasars.
Beyond the biological and natural domains, artificial helical structures from the
nano- to the macro-scale have been developed by science and technology.
Nanosprings made of zinc oxide, helical microtubules of graphitic carbon,
helical screws and gears, and the helical flying machine dreamed about by
Leonardo da Vinci are just a few outputs of the human interest for this shape.
This paper intends to provide a brief overview on natural and artificial examples
of helical structures, showing how their geometrical properties have been
exploited to achieve different purposes.
artificial, helical, helix, natural, structure.
The natural world has always significantly attracted human interest for the
variety of examples of fascinating regularity and symmetry of which it is
Both living bodies and inanimate structures showing incredible
geometrical properties permeate our world, spanning from infinitesimal domains
to astronomical scales.
Size: 3,000 kb
Paper DOI: 10.2495/DN100521
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