SimuLab 10: Measuring Fractal Dimension

We learned with
the **Coastline** program (SimuLab 1)that a computer
can quickly cover a pattern with boxes of various sizes, count the number of
boxes, and plot the result in order to measure the dimension of that pattern.
In this section we learn to use a new and even more powerful computer program
called **Fractal Dimension** (see Java Applet Page) to analyze patterns grown in the laboratory,
as well as patterns simulated by computer programs such as **Coastline**.

1. Open the

2. Select one of the images from the **Sample Images** menu.

3. Click on the red square at the left of the ** Toolbar**.
This covers the image with little boxes.

4. Click on the size control boxes at the top of the window to
change the box size, then click again on the red square in the
toolbar. The machine covers the coastline with boxes of the new
size.

5. Change the box size and repeat the count with several box sizes.

6. Click on the graph icon, fifth from the left in the toolbar.
This brings a log-log plot to the front. This plot gives the value
of the slope, which is equal to the dimension D. If you wish to
fill in the graph with more dots, go back and do additional counts
with boxes of appropriate size.

7. Click on the table icon, sixth from the left in the toolbar.
This opens a data table listing box lengths and counts. If you
feel that one or more of the data points on the graph should be
eliminated from the slope measurement, click on the number in
the ** # Boxes** column. This will "gray out'' that
row and the dot for that entry will disappear from the graph.
(Restore the data point by clicking again on that item in the
table.)

8. Analyze other images from the **Images** menu using the box method.
In particular, you may want to check that a straight line (whether horizontal
or diagonal) has a dimension of one. Is a solid square 2-dimensional, according
to the **Fractal Dimension** program? You will also be interested in the
Koch curve from the **Images** menu. Is the fractal dimension of the Koch
curve determined by this program the same as your measurement in HandsOn
8 and the theoretical result of Eq. 4.2?

**Measuring the Pattern from the Electrochemical Deposition Experiment:**
Now call up the image of the pattern you grew in the electrodeposition experiment
and measure its dimension using the box method. How does this value compare
with the value of the dimension you obtained using the current and radius
values obtained during the experiment?