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Circle Packing Puzzles

STEAM Collaborators: 

Matthew Kahle, Ph.D- Assistant Professor

College of Arts and Sciences- Mathematics


Through STEAM Factory funding, Matthew Kahle utilized the skills and equipment at the Columbus Idea Foundry by commissioning the construction of a Packing Circles puzzle. Circle packing is the study of the arrangement of circles of equal or varying sizes on a given surface 

Example of Packing Circle Puzzle
so that no overlapping occurs and all circles touch another.

The associated "packing density" of an arrangement is the fraction of the surface covered by the circles. Kahle constructed the packing circles puzzle as a means of exploring this mathematical problem in a tactile way, thereby making the chal- lenge accessible to a wider range of people. The puzzle was brought to  the STEAM Factory’s booth at the 400 West Rich Farmers Market on November 9, 2013, where a wide audience played with it including children of varying ages.


Notable Achievements: 

  • Creating a challenging puzzle which was demonstrated for a public audience