Maze Solving Using Fatty Acid Chemistry

Kohta Suzuno, Daishin Ueyama, Michal Branicki, Rita Toth, Artur Braun, Istvan Lagzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study demonstrates that the Marangoni flow in a channel network can solve maze problems such as exploring and visualizing the shortest path and finding all possible solutions in a parallel fashion. The Marangoni flow is generated by the pH gradient in a maze filled with an alkaline solution of a fatty acid by introducing a hydrogel block soaked with an acid at the exit. The pH gradient changes the protonation rate of fatty acid molecules, which translates into the surface tension gradient at the liquid-air interface through the maze. Fluid flow maintained by the surface tension gradient (Marangoni flow) can drag water-soluble dye particles toward low pH (exit) at the liquid-air interface. Dye particles placed at the entrance of the maze dissolve during this motion, thus exhibiting and finding the shortest path and all possible paths in a maze.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9251-9255
Number of pages5
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2014


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