Black Hole

[Black Hole]

Rubber bands pull thirty woven lollipop sticks toward a central point, and this symmetric structure emerges at the equilibrium.

Designed and constructed in January, 2010.

[Black Hole: closeup view]

The center of the Black Hole consists of sixteen rubber bands: one white band clamps 15 others to create 30 loose ends—one for each stick. These rubber bands are the only structural support present.

[Black Hole: in progress]

During construction, cardboard scaffolding supported the rods as I weaved and looped them through the rubber bands. This picture was taken just before the final scaffolding was removed.

Thirty lollipop sticks are pulled toward the middle of the Black Hole by rubberbands; the sticks desperately oppose their crushing doom by bracing against each other. From the equilibrium emerges this dodecahedrally-symmetric form. Each stick is supported against the central pull by four other sticks, and in turn it helps brace four more sticks. So in total, each stick touches eight others.

The configuration can be imagined geometrically as follows: place a long rod along each edge of a dodecahedron, and then rotate them all by the same amount until this structure is obtained. (This does not work very well physically, unless you have magic rods that can pass through each other during the rotation.) The shape naturally acquires groups of five almost parallel rods, showing that the weaving of rods is the same as the weaving of edges in the compound of six intersecting pentagonal prisms. Grouped differently, the rods also organize themselves into five tetrahedra, as in the five intersecting tetrahedra compound. Similar rod weavings can be seen in Polypolypolyhedron and Intensegrity.

Copyright © 2011–2020 by Zachary Abel. All rights reserved. Last updated on 4/7/2020.