How can we engineer components to assemble into complex structures in a reliable manner? Experimental methods rely on interactions such as surface properties, magnetic dipoles, charge, and polarizability. Here pressure is shown to have the power to hold a system together, or to take it apart. Specific diagrams give visual clues to the nature of the pressure that is present. The ability to identify the properties of pressure will allow researchers to manipulate pressure’s power to their advantage. DNA base pairing, polynucleotide chain properties, and an enzyme-catalyzed reaction are used as examples of self-assembling structures conforming to laws of pressure.

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