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Examination of the Fractal Dimension of Fatty Acid Aggregates

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A. Kuck, M. Hayward, A. P. Andrews

This study explore the relationship between the length of the carbon
chain on various eta-alkanoic acids and the fractal dimension of the
resulting aggregates they form. Fractal dimension was chosen as a
quantified measure of roughness of an aggregate formed when a solution
of acid in chloroform is evaporated from a water surface. Measurements
of 11 fatty acids were made at room temperature and yielded fractal
dimensions between 1.0 and 1.4. Fractal dimension was found to vary
with carbon number. In addition, the statistical distribution of
fractal dimension for each acid was recorded. The dependence of
fractal dimension upon carbon number follows a trend similar to
that seen in bulk-melting point versus carbon number. This research
was supported by NSF grant DMR-9619406.