Permaculture Designers Manual




Section 4.12 –

Toroidal Phenomena in Permaculture

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  Implicit in our core model and obvious in violent detonations such as atomic explosions, puffs from diesel exhaust pipes, or deliberately blown as smoke rings, are the rolling doughnut-shapes of TORI.

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A TORUS is a widespread natural phenomenon. The closed models (Figure 4.13) enclose such a torus, and we can imagine a slow-cycling torus of nutrients surrounding the stem of any tree as crown-drip carries nutrients to the ground, and the roots again return them via the stem of the tree.

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Photographic stills of atomic explosions may reveal violently rotating tori around and crowning the ascending column of smoke and debris. Violent up-draughts caused by local heat create such tori in atmospheric thermals, much appreciated by soaring birds and glider pilots, who ride the inner (ascending) circle of the doughnuts of hot air that are generated, for example, over deserts on hot afternoons.

A complex toroidal form is the “Robinson Congruence” (Figure 4.20), portraying the space time form of a mass-less particle such as a proton, representing, in effect, annidated tori

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DNA is also portrayed as encircling such an imaginary plus-torus in Figure 4.11.

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A Mőbius strip – a one-sided twisted toroid (often portrayed by M.C. Escher in his art) – enables us to cross an edge without lifting our pencil

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Many life forms produce tori (e.g. some sea snail egg masses). We rely on a torus of rubber to inflate our tires and to seal circular hatches as 0-rings. A torus is, in effect, a special or truncated case of the Overbeck jet (Figure 4.13), as a fetus is a truncated “tree”, and can be generated by discontinuous or explosive flow, or pulses in flow. A torus is a closed three-dimensional vortex. One such closed toroidal form, as found in black holes, is shown in Figure 4.21.

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Here, accretion of matter causes gaseous ejection at the poles, as the earth may have “ejected” seas and continents at the magnetic poles, or gathers in the violent energy of ionized particles that form the auroras, visible as polar tori in satellite images. Even the long curtains of the auroras seen from the ground contain vertical spiral columns (J. Reid pers. comm.).