Masters Theses


"Although the discovery of the "Liesegang Rings" phenomenon was made sometime before 1855 little was done in the way of study or experimentation until 1896 when R. E. Liesegang discovered that if a crystal or strong solution of silver nitrate is added to a gelatin gel containing dilute potassium chromate, the resulting precipitate of silver chromate is not continuous, as might be expected, but forms a discontinuous periodic pattern. This pattern follows a geometric progression law, xn = akn, where xn is the position of the nth ring, and a and k are constants. K is known as the spacing coefficient. This law may also be written xn/xn-1 = k, where the constants are the same. The constant k is also known as the Jablynski constant.

Another useful relationship is one which connects the time of appearance, tn, of the nth ring and its position. This relationship is xn /tn1/2 = k', where k' is known as the Morse and Pierce constant.

Since the discovery of this phenomenon there have been many theories proposed in an attempt to explain the mechanism which produces this unusual effect. It is the aim of the writer to clear up one of the major objections to one of the two major theories that are still accepted as possible explanations.

As a great many examples of periodic deposition of matter are found in nature, there have been many suggested correlations with the Liesegang phenomenon. Some of these are the agate and other geologic formations, the banded structure of gallstones and other concretions, the rhythmic swarming of bacilli, tree rings, beet root markings, etc. However, if the constancy of the two ratios mentioned above is taken as the criterion for true Liesegang phenomenon, all but the agate and other geologic formations must be excluded. In regard to these last examples, there is still some interest, although there have been other seemingly more reasonable theories propounded.

One application of the Liesegang phenomenon was propounded by Butcher in 1937. This application makes use of the sensitiveness of the phenomenon to very slight variations in blood composition and quality to analyze blood. Also, Liesegang discussed the production of artificial pearls, and Van Hook has made some pieces of novelty ware by generating patterns in certain media which were then hardened and fixed by tanning"--Introduction, pages 1-3.


Rivers, Jack L.



Degree Name

M.S. in Physics


Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy

Publication Date



iii, 23 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 21-22).


© 1958 Robert Edward Young, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

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Subject Headings

Precipitation (Chemistry)

Thesis Number

T 1176

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