Mother Nature is a fantastic designer. Have you ever considered how nature arranges itself into patterns to function effectively? Nothing in nature happens by chance; each of these patterns has quite a specific purpose in existence, and they’re also rather lovely to look at. Next time you go on a walk, keep your eyes open for these patterns.

What is Meant by a Fractal?

A fractal is considered “a rough or fractured geometric form that may be split into sections, each of which is an approximate reduced-size replica of the whole,” as characterized by the property of self-similarity.

A fractal often has the following features:

  • It is a never-ending pattern 
  • It is a geometric pattern 
  • It is a complex, self-similar pattern 

Fractals are abundant in nature and may be found almost anywhere. A fractal is a persistent pattern that seems the same at every scale and repeats itself over time. 

What is the Significance of Fractals?

Fractals aid in the study and comprehension of essential scientific ideas such as the growth of germs, patterns in frozen water (snowflakes), and brain waves, to name a few. Many scientific advancements have been made possible thanks to their formulations. Instead of a basic antenna, wireless mobile phone antennas use a fractal design to pick up signals better and cover a larger spectrum of frequencies. Anything having a rhythm or pattern has the potential to be fractal.

Is it Possible That Fractals are the Key to Some Relaxing Nature Scenes?

The patterns of randomness in fractals may be seen everywhere, from seashells to spiral galaxies to the structure of human lungs. Branching fractals include trees, ferns, the neurons in our brains, the blood veins in our lungs, lightning bolts, rivers branching, as well as the shoreline and rock formations. The nautilus shell, meteorological patterns such as hurricanes, spiral galaxies, the spiral of pinecones, and sunflowers all include spiral fractals.

Fractal geometry is used by scientists to visually depict much of what they observe in nature, such as coastlines, mountains, and soil erosion, as well as to study seismic patterns.

Examples of Fractals in Nature

Fractals may be found in nature in the form of flowers, ferns, leaves, river channels, lightning, and snowflakes. Broccoli is a fine example. Every broccoli branch is identical to its parent stem. The fractal design on the surface of your lungs’ lining permits more oxygen to be absorbed.  

Fractals are well-known in the natural world. Food and bacteria, plants and animals, mountains, water, and the sky all contain them. Here are some stunning examples:

Fractal Trees

Fractals occur in a tree’s branches due to the way it forms branches. The primary trunk of the tree serves as the fractal’s origin point, and each set of branches that sprout from it has its own set of branches that spread and have branches of their own. When the branches become small enough, they become twigs, which grow into larger branches with their twigs. The result of this cycle is an “infinite” tree branch arrangement. Each tree branch appears to be a tiny version of the overall shape.


Fractal Snowflakes

We’ve all heard that every snowflake is unique, and one of the reasons for this is that snowflakes develop in fractal patterns, which may allow for great amounts of complexity and variance. The beginning point of the fractal in ice crystal form is at the center, and the shape grows outward in all directions. Fractal formations arise in each direction as the crystal grows. Each repetition of the pattern becomes smaller and more intricate, much like the other instances of fractals we’ve seen, adding to the total intricacy of the design.

Fractal Lightning and Electricity

If you’ve ever observed a lightning storm, you’ve seen one of nature’s most powerful displays of fractals up close and personal. The pattern created when electricity flows through a material that does not conduct electricity well (such as air) is called a fractal. Due to the sheer way electricity interacts with the air, this phenomenon occurs. The air becomes superheated when the current travels through it. This method is repeated for each degree of fragmentation until a fractal emerges.

You’re eating a fractal the next time you eat a salad, pineapple, broccoli, or a few other things! Plants and leaves, like those in mammals, distribute nutrients through a network of fractals. These structures allow liquids and other life-sustaining elements to flow freely throughout the plant, maintaining each cell’s existence.

Another fantastic example of a fractal is a fern. Ferns are largely made up of the same basic structure repeated many times.

Fractals in Geography, Rivers, and Terrain

Shorelines and mountain ranges are both considered fractal. When you consider how topography is produced and weathered, you’ll see that water erosion accounts for a significant portion of the landscape. Rivers and other bodies of water absorb, transport, and distribute water over a landscape in much the same way fluids are distributed throughout a body. Water’s journey from a stream to a river, then to a lake or another huge body of water is an excellent example of this.

Fractals in Clouds

Fractal properties can also be seen in clouds. The presence of turbulence in the atmosphere has an intriguing effect on how water particles interact with one another. Turbulence is fractal, hence it has a direct influence on cloud formation and appearance. The amount of condensation, ice crystals, and precipitation ejected from clouds influences the cloud’s condition as well as the system’s structure and hence turbulence.

Fractals in Crystals

Natural types of crystals can display fractal features. Some crystals seem more fractal than others, depending on the crystal structure and materials utilized. 

Math is extremely important in today’s day and age. It’s used everywhere and daily. It’s applied in a variety of ways that most people wouldn’t imagine. People are unaware of how much math they encounter on a daily basis. What’s more, they have no idea how much geometry is involved. Geometry has advanced in the arts, navigation, and construction, allowing the globe to become more technologically advanced.

Math philosophy is focused on the logic of shape, quantity, and order. Every element of our life is influenced by math. Everything we do in our daily lives is based on that. 

Read more articles on BYJU’S FutureSchool Blog to learn more about Fractals found in nature.


About the Author

More than just Coding and Math! Our proprietary, activity-based curriculum with live, real-time instruction facilitates: Problem Solving. Creative Thinking. Grit. Confidence. Communication