Reptilings and space-filling curves for acute triangles

Marinus Gottschau, Herman Haverkort, Kilian Matzke (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


An r-gentiling is a dissection of a shape into r≥ 2 parts that are all similar to the original shape. An r-reptiling is an r-gentiling of which all parts are mutually congruent. By applying gentilings recursively, together with a rule that defines an order on the parts, one may obtain an order in which to traverse all points within the original shape. We say such a traversal is a face-continuous space-filling curve if, at any level of recursion, the interior of the union of any set of consecutive parts is connected—that is, with two-dimensional shapes, consecutive parts must always meet along an edge. Most famously, the isosceles right triangle admits a 2-reptiling, which can be used to describe the face-continuous Sierpiński/Pólya space-filling curve; many other right triangles admit reptilings and gentilings that yield face-continuous space-filling curves as well. In this study we investigate which acute triangles admit non-trivial reptilings and gentilings, and whether these can form the basis for face-continuous space-filling curves. We derive several properties of reptilings and gentilings of acute (sometimes also obtuse) triangles, leading to the following conclusion: no face-continuous space-filling curve can be constructed on the basis of reptilings of acute triangles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-199
Number of pages30
JournalDiscrete and Computational Geometry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Meshing
  • Reptile
  • Space-filling curve
  • Tessellation


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