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A new extremal property of Steiner triple-systems. (English) Zbl 0553.05019
A family \({\mathcal F}\) of 3-subsets of an n-element set is union-free if, for any 4 subsets F,G,F’,G’\(\in {\mathcal F}\), \(F\cup G=F'\cup G'\) implies that \(\{F,G\}=\{F',G'\}.\) \({\mathcal F}\) is weakly union-free if, for any 4 distinct subsets F,G,F’,G’\(\in {\mathcal F}\), \(F\cup G\neq F'\cup G'.\) Denote by \(f_ 3(n)\) (respectively \(F_ 3(n))\) the maximum number of sets in a union-free (respectively weakly union-free) family. Theorem 1.4: \(f_ 3(n)=[n(n-1)/6].\) (If \(n\equiv 1\) or \(n\equiv 3\) (mod 6), \(n\geq 7\), Steiner triple systems realize the equality of Theorem 1.4; other examples exist.) Theorem 1.6: \(F_ 3(n)\leq n(n-1)/3,\) and any family for which equality holds is a Steiner triple system. Moreover, if \(n\equiv 1\) (mod 6), then equality holds for n sufficiently large. Corollary to Theorem 1.6: For n sufficiently large, \(n(n-1)/3-(10/3)n<F_ 3(n)\leq [n(n-1)/3].\)
Reviewer: W.G.Brown

05B07 Triple systems
05A05 Permutations, words, matrices
03E05 Other combinatorial set theory
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