Q:

What are some things that are shaped like a hexagon?

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Quick Answer

Hexagons occur in nature in many places, such as the interlocking cells of a beehive and the crystals of a snowflake. Turtle shells are often covered with hexagonal markings. The Giant's Causeway in Scotland is a geographical feature composed of 40,000 hexagonal columns of basalt. Hexagons are commonly used for tiles, paving stones and other wall and floor coverings, while solar panels are often made up of hexagonal grids.

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Full Answer

The natural occurrence of hexagons is due to the efficient way that the hexagonal shape makes use of space. The hexagon is one of only three regular polygons that fit together to cover a flat surface without any gaps, the other two being the square and the equilateral triangle.

Because a hexagon has more sides than a square or triangle, its area has a more compact fixed perimeter than either one. This means the hexagonal cells of honeycomb use the least amount of wax necessary to enclose the maximum amount of space, without wasting any space between cells.

A hexagonal arrangement also allows for dense packing of circular objects. For example, marbles placed in a rounded dish naturally arrange themselves into a hexagonal shape, with six marbles clustered around one central marble.

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