Clustering and self-organization in small-scale natural and artificial systems

Edward Bormashenko, Alexander A. Fedorets, Mark Frenkel, Leonid A. Dombrovsky, Michael Nosonovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Physical properties of clusters, i.e. systems composed of a 'small' number of particles, are qualitatively different from those of infinite systems. The general approach to the problem of clustering is suggested. Clusters, as they are seen in the graphs theory, are discussed. Various physical mechanisms of clustering are reviewed. Dimensional properties of clusters are addressed. The dimensionality of clusters governs to a great extent their properties. Weakly and strongly coupled clusters are discussed. Hydrodynamic and capillary interactions giving rise to clusters formation are surveyed. Levitating droplet clusters, turbulent clusters and droplet clusters responsible for the breath-figures self-assembly are considered. Entropy factors influencing clustering are considered. Clustering in biological systems results in non-equilibrium multi-scale assembly, where at each scale, self-driven components come together by consuming energy in order to form the hierarchical structure. This article is part of the theme issue 'Bioinspired materials and surfaces for green science and technology (part 3)'.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences
Issue number2167
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2020


  • Biological clusters
  • Capillary interactions
  • Cluster
  • Dimension
  • Hydrodynamic interactions
  • Self-organization


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