Self-assembly of magnetically interacting cubes by a turbulent fluid flow

Filip Ilievski*, Madhav Mani, George M. Whitesides, Michael P. Brenner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Previous work has demonstrated that combining mechanical vibration with magnetic interactions can result in the self-assembly of complex structures, albeit at low yield. Here we introduce a system where the yield of self-assembled structures is quantitatively predicted by a theoretical analysis. Millimeter-sized magnetic blocks, designed to form chains as their minimal energy state, are placed in a turbulent fluid flow. The distribution of chain lengths that form is quantitatively consistent with predictions, showing that the chain length distribution coincides with that of monomers or polymers in a thermal bath, with the turbulence strength parametrizing the effective temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number017301
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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