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Patterns in a von Koch snowflake The purpose of this exercise is to investigate the relationship between the stages of the snowflake and its perimeter and areas.

I will first count the number of sides, Nn, at each stage manually and then try to establish a relationship between them. Initially ln, the length of each side is taken to be one unit, but at each stage, the side will be divided into three equal parts, of which the middle one will be the base for another triangle. As a result, the length of each side at every stage will be one-third of the length of side at the previous stage. That being said, the length of each side can be represented by the formula ln = l0 × ( units.

)n

The length of the perimeter, Pn, will be the product of the length of each side and the number of sides. The formula for this will be Pn =

Nn × ln. We can substitute ln = ( )n as found Nn × ( )n units.

above into this equation. As a result, the new equation will be Pn =

I will calculate the area of the triangles by using the formula

absinC. As the Koch

snowflake consists of equilateral triangles, both sides a and b will be equal to Ln and C = 60o, the formula for the area of each of the additional triangles will be

(ln )2 sin 60o. Simplifying it

further, and replacing ln by ( )n . So for the nth stage of the snowflake, the area for each triangle would be

√

(

2n

sq units.

For the nth stage. it can be said that the number of sides is a series in geometric n progression for which the first term is 3 and the common ratio is 4. the number of sides (Nn). So. the length of a single side (ln). n= 1. So. I will calculate the total area of the snowflake. the length of the perimeter (Pn). that is. Nn = 3(4) . An. every time n increases by one. This can be done by substituting n= 0. by calculating the sum of the areas of each of the additional triangles and adding it to the area calculated for at the previous stage. and the area of the snowflake (An) is shown in the table below (Figure 1) Nn n=0 n=1 n=2 n=3 3 12 48 192 Ln 1 Pn 3 4 An √ √ √ √ Figure 1 250 200 150 Number of sides 100 50 0 0 1 2 Stage (n) 3 4 As we can see in the table above and the graph on the left. and n= 3 into the equation we just found. at stage 0 will be √ ( 0 => √ unit2. n= 2. N0 = 3(4)0 = 3( 1) = 3 Number of Sides .The first calculated area. the number of sides of the ‘snowflake’ increases by four times. the number of sides increases by four times at each stage. The next step is to find out if this generalisation is true.

2 0 0 0. is true for all cases.6 Length of each side 0.4 0.8 0. .the length of each side can be represented as ln 1.5 3 3.5 1 1. The relationship between the terms for ln has already been established but is shown more clearly by the graph below.N1 = 3(4)1 = 3(4) = 12 N2 = 3(4)2 = 3(16) = 48 N3 = 3(4)3 = 3(64) = 192 The above values. calculated using the formula Nn = 3(4)n.5 Stage (n) = ( )n. As l0 = 1. the generalisation is valid as it applies to all the values found in the table. To find out if the generalisation. l0 = ( )0 = 1 l1 = ( )1 = ( ) l2 = ( )2 = ( ) l3 = ( )3 = ( ) Again. adhere to the values that I found manually. ln = ( )n. and 3 are substituted as below. the values n= 0l. It is a geometric series with the ratio and first term 1. 2.2 1 Length of each side (units) 0.5 2 2. 1.

5 0. P0 = 3( )0 = 3(1) = 3 P2 = 3( )2 = 3( ) = P1 = 3( )1 = 3( =4 P3 = 3( )3=3( )= The generalisation applies consistently to the values in the table. 1. This can be verified by substituting n= 0.The graph for the perimeters of the figure at each stage is shown on the graph on the right. the area decreases significantly.7 0.1 0 0 1 2 Stage (n) 3 4 Area (sq units) The graph on the left shows the graph of the area of the figure against the value of n.2 0. The increase in the number of triangles is equal to the number of sides of the figure at the .3 0. As we have found the expression for Nn. 2 and 3. The new equation will be : Perimeter (units) 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 1 2 Stage (n) 3 4 Perimeter Pn = 3(4) × ( ) n n which can be further simplified to form the equation: Pn = 3( )n.4 0. we can substitute Nn = 3(4)n into the equation Pn = Nn × ( )n .6 Area (sq units) 0. 0. According to the graph.8 0.

Following this procedure. The common ratio for this series will be progression series. A0 = A1 = A2 = A3 = √ 0 = + √ √ 0 √ 1 = √ ( ) √ √ = √ √ √ = √ √ = √ √ √ = √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ The generalisation has been proven correct. The formula would now look like this: An = √ √ √ √ √ The next thing I will do is combine the two ratios. Sn = a( Sn = √ √ √ which. The equation would look like: An = √ √ √ √ √ The series in the bracket would be one geometric series with first term simplification. An = √ √ √ √ √ The first thing I will do is separate the area at A0 from the area at the rest of the stages as this is the area that I am adding the rest of the areas to. 2 and 3 like I have done in the steps above. As the power to which 4 is raised is one less than the power to which is raised.previous stages. I will multiply both the numerator and denominator by 4. An = √ √ √ √ To test if this generalisation holds true. I will substitute n with 0. before it was simplified to achieve the one I just verified. upon The sum of the terms in the series can be calculated using the general formula for sum to nth term for a geometric ). . where a is the first term and r is the common ratio. This can now be manipulated to formulate a general formula that does not involve all this calculation and is more convenient. and 4. would become . I shall start with the first formula for calculation the area. In this case. ( ). 1.

perimeter and area of the snowflake for stage 4 can be found by substituting n= 4 into their respective formulae. A0 = √ √ ( )= √ √ ( ) √ √ √ √ A1 = √ √ ( )= √ √ ( ) √ √ A2 = √ √ ( )= √ √ ( ) √ √ ( ) √ √ A3 = √ √ ( )= √ √ ( ) √ ( ) √ The values obtained by using this formula are the same as the values in the table. n=2. the number of sides. Nn Nn = 3(4)n ln ln = ( )n Pn Pn = 3( )n An An = √ √ ( ) As the generalisations apply consistently to the sets of values produced in the table. n=3 into the above equation and compare it with the values in the table. I will substitute n= 0. length of each side. n=1. An = √ √ ( ). To verify that this generalisation holds true for all values of n.The new equation would be as shown below: An = √ + Sn so. This shows that the formula An = √ √ ( ) is true for all values of n. Number of sides: N4 = 3(4)4 = 3(256) = 768 sides Length of each side: l4 = ( )4 = Perimeter: P4 = 3( )4 = 3( Area of snowflake: A4 = √ units units √ = ( )= √ √ ( ) √ √ ( ) √ units .

A side of the original triangle at Stage 0. would look like the following after 4 iterations: units units 𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑠 units 1 unit .

I will divide this ‘side’ (which is one third of the actual snowflake) into four equal parts. For convenience. Number of counted sides (in the green box). The value calculated in this step should be the same as the value calculated using the generalisation earlier. I will multiply the result by 3 to find the number of sides in the entire closed figure. The modified formula would be area = √ S= Area = √ √ ( √ ) = √ √ √ √ √ Total area of triangles = 192( A4 = √ √ √ Both values of A4 are the same. a=b=c. I have marked the lengths of the sides for the fractal at stages 0. Number of sides in the diagram. is the product of N4 and l4. the same as the calculated value. one of which is enclosed in the green box as shown on the diagram. which is Area = √ where s is the semi-perimeter and a. There will be 192 new equilateral triangles with side units. the value calculated using this diagram will be the same as the one calculated using the conjecture found earlier. As the perimeter. I will calculate the sum of the areas of all these triangles and add it to the value of A3 to get the value for A4. which are the same in both cases. I will calculate the area of each small triangle using the semi-perimeter formula. the prediction can be verified. The number of sides in this closed figure can be manually counted. Finally.In the image on the previous page shows one side of the original triangle which we started with at n=0. N4= 768 As this value is same as the one found using the conjectures found earlier. At stage 4. = 64 = 64×4 = 256 Number of sides in the snowflake when n=4. 1. the length of each side is units. Since the triangle in hand is an equilateral triangle. P4. . so I will let a = side of triangle. I will count the number of sides in this box and multiply it by 4 to find the number of sides in the part of the snowflake that it shown in the diagram. 2. 3 and 4. b and c are the sides of the triangle.

…. n=5. to six decimal places.9548849 53.6919304 0.6926445 0.4927416 299.6700114 0. 7. n 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Nn 3 12 48 192 768 3072 12288 49152 196608 786432 3145728 12582912 50331648 201326592 805306368 3221225472 12884901890 Table 4 ln 1 Pn 3 4 5.3333333 7.8559671 22.3236556 An 0.6826830 0.4814815 12. 6. n as well as the five values that I have already found.0309065 94.6798135 0.6883149 0.6908179 0.6928197 As we can see from the table above.6924248 0. I will substitute values. This is because as n becomes greater.4746228 29. as the answer needs to be given in 6 decimal places.6415003 0. It increases at a decreasing rate and after several values of n .6419753 16. Pn and An. I will no longer use exact values but take my answers to seven decimal places.2731799 71.7078754 126. ln.3695562 224.1111111 9. at n= 15. 8.6928049 0. I will make a table with values of n. the perimeter is increasing at the constantly in the ratio for every increase by one in the value of n.To find the values of n for which An is equal to An+1.6927422 0. the area of the small triangles after that many iterations becomes too small to make a significant difference to the total area of the .4330127 0. It will be close to infinity as As can be seen in the table above.6928173 0.6927856 0.6928190 0.2771672 168. In the table we can see the pattern An follows. As this is a series following geometric progression and its ratio is greater than 1.9661637 39.5773503 0. Nn. seems as if it is constant. the perimeter is expected to be very large.

This can be verified by the formula : √ √ √ The area at infinity will be: √ √ = 0.snowflake. The area at infinity will be very close to the area of the snowflake at n= 15 or n=16.692820 .

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