Examination of the Fractal Dimension of Fatty Acid Aggregates

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.