Q:

# What are some hexagon-shaped objects?

A:

A hexagon is a six-sided figure with six angles. Regular hexagons with equal sides and equal angles are a commonly found shape in nature. The honeycomb of bees, for example, is a naturally occurring instance of the hexagon. Minerals and crystals often form hexagonal shapes naturally, while the chemical compounds of graphene and benzene naturally form hexagons at the atomic level.

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Credit: prilfish CC-BY 2.0

The Honeycomb Conjecture is a mathematical theory describing why honey bees construct hexagonal cells when they construct honeycombs from wax. The theory states that a grid of hexagons, by sharing cell walls, uses the least material to fill a given space. This makes it the most efficient way for honey bees to build a honeycomb.

At the atomic level, compounds, such as benzene, form when six carbon atoms form a carbon ring, creating a hexagonal shape. The carbon ring, attached at each point by a hydrogen atom, is a simple and stable organic compound. Benzene is usually found in oil deposits. When a carbon ring attaches itself ad infinitum to other carbon rings, it is known as graphene. The properties of graphene are not well understood, as it was only first produced in a laboratory setting in 2003. It promises, however, to have great potential due to its extreme molecular strength.

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