and
T. Kapitaniak 1
Department ofApplied Mathematical Studies and Centrefor Nonlinear Studies, University ofLeeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Received 27 March 1990; revised manuscript received 26 April 1990; accepted for publication 3 May 1990
Communicated by A.P. Fordy
The possibility of purely spatial chaos of loop and envelope soliton localization in long elastic strings is considered. Possible
connections to some problems in molecular biology are discussed,
1. Introduction and preliminary remarks sembles the periodic instability waves of compressed
elastica. Depending on certain geometrical parame
There has been an increased interest in complexity ters, a long elastica inside a long circular pipe would
and spatial chaos in recent years [15].In partic lose stability when compressed and form a helical
ular, since the discovery of loop solitons and their structure [13]. The secondary structure also looks
interaction [6,7] as well as the possibility of a purely very close to the soliton loops ofthe chaotic elastica.
spatial chaos [8], there is a renewed interest in the Finally, the tertiary structure looks very much like
Euler elastica and its applications [9]. the strongly coiled elastica anticipated theoretically
El Naschie established the connection between the in ref. [51and confirmed numerically in refs. [9,13].
loop soliton and the MilkeHolmes chaotic elastica Protein chains are not rigid. Similar to the elas
using a dynamical version of the Euler elastica [5,9]. tica, they are flexible. This elasticity is essential in
He also drew attention to the possibility of inter understanding protein deformation [12,14]. Not
preting the instability waves in curved compressed unlike DNA, soliton chaos of the elastica also con
thin material surfaces (i.e. shells) as envelope soli veys a definite code when translated into symbolic
ton turbulence [9,10]. Thompson and Virgin were dynamics.
the first to publish a numerical confirmation of the In the present work we study numerically what we
theoretical results of Milke and Holmes using an el may term spatial strange attractors in the elastica.
ementary but neat model [11]. This might be ofinterest, since strange attractors are
There is some intriguing likeness, at least a purely regarded occasionally as generators of information.
visual one, between the elastica configurations and Due to the analogy between the Hamiltonian of
protein transformations. The primary structure of the elastica and the Hamiltonian of a circular elastic
protein [12], which is made up of long linear chains ring under external pressure [15], the similarity may
of covalently linked amino acids, for instance, re be extended to circular DNA. In fact in some ele
mentary demonstration using a long twirled and
Permanent address: Institute of Applied Mechanics, Techni stretched elastic band, we observe not only the spa
cal University of Lodz, Stefanowskiego I / 15, 90924 Lodz, tial complexity and pseudorandom loops shown in
Poland. refs. [5,9], but we can more frequently and very
0375960 1/90/$ 03.50 1990 Elsevier Science Publishers BY. (NorthHolland) 275
Volume 147, number 5,6 PHYSICS LETTERS A 16 July 1990
clearly observe supercoiling in the elastic band very a position to comment in depth on the exact nature
similar to that of DNA. It seems also that spatial of the analogy suggested here.
chaos generated by periodic fluctuation in the elas Nevertheless we hope that our detailed knowledge
tica may fit well into a known analogy between poly of the elastica and statical chaos may be of some
mer chains and Brownian motion and this in turn is value, however limited, to the specialist who may be
another connection to fractals. able to draw a clearer picture. In addition we hope
We may recall as explained in detail in refs. [5,9] that this work clearly shows that soliton and chaos
that for a soliton loop to form in the planar elastica, are not contradictory and even essential as noted in
very large deformation is needed first, then we must a different context by Ueda and Noguchi [22].
assume that the ends can pass without obstruction
through each other, which is of course physically im
possible. If the planar twodimensional constraint is 2. The dynamical elastica loop sotiton
removed however, the loop soliton forms in three di
mensions without the need for a large deflection. This Consider the following nonlinear differential
might be related to another observation in protein, equation which describes the dynamical behaviour
There the primary structures can be considered of the elastica,
~ + ~ + ~ [ W (1 + W2) 3/2] = 0 (1)
planar, however, the secondary structures must be
taken as threedimensional [14]. Nevertheless, if the ti XX xx x XX
lateral movement of the elastica is restrained in some where ( ).~= d/dx and ( )~= d/dt. Here W is the
way, for instance through electromagnetic forces as nondimensional displacement, e= a/2PA, ci is the
in electric conductors [161 or by elastic forces as in bending stiffness. A is the crosssectional area of the
axisymmetrical deformation of beams attached lat elastica, P is the axial force, x is the axial coordinate
erally to the elastic medium [9], then there can be and t is the time.
a possibility for another type of soliton in two di Introducing the stretched coordinates
mensions and without very large deflection. This is + ~
the nonlinear Schrdinger equation [171. In the noting that when a loop forms in the elastica, then
present work we give numerical confirmation for the compression is reversed into tension [131 and using
conjecture made in refs. [5,101 that elastic material 0 and s as coordinate system where 0 is the slope of
surfaces, such as shells, exhibit under certain con the central line and s is the arch length, our PDE re
ditions purely spatial and statical soliton chaos. duces to
In all the problems considered here we study the
0+cosO(sec0O5~)5=0, (2)
influence of bandlimited white noise on the ran
domness of the soliton [18,191, and we show that where a dot denotes d/dt and ( )~=d/ds. Using the
this spatial chaos may be eliminated or reduced by inverse scattering transformation, this equation can
adding noise. Needless to say a phenomenon indis be shown to possess a loop soliton solution [6,7,26
tinguishable from spatial chaos can only be observed 28]. Some elementary experimental demonstrations
in the unforced system by adding bandlimited white of these loops were reported in ref. [13]. The time
noise. independent version of the last equation is nothing
The idea ofusing soliton to model DNA is ofcourse but the familar nonlinear ODE of the Euler elastica,
not new at all. It has been considered in some pi
53+sin=0. (3)
oneenng work by Davydov and K.tslukla [20]. Highly
interesting results were reported in numerous excel Now we perturb this equation by first adding pen
lent papers by Scott [21]. odic spatial forcing (imperfection),
These researchers go of course far deeper into the .
O~5+sinO=asinws, (4)
real and far more difficult problems of molecular bi
ology. We on the other hand are familiar only with and then adding bandlimited white noise pertur
the global logic of molecular biology and are not in bation to it:
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Volume 147, number 5,6 PHYSICS LETTERS A 16 July 1990
S(v) ci1(Vmax Vmjn), Ve [Vmin, Vm~], for different parametric values as well as initial
conditions.
0
= V~[Vmin, umax], (6) For the deterministic and noise perturbed nonlin
a is constant, ~mjfl and Vmax are the band frequencies ear dynamics we plot the corresponding spatial
ofthe noise. y, are independent random variables with strange attractor in the region ofthe strange attractor
uniform distribution on the interval [0, 2n], A and [23]. Fig. 3 shows clearly the immense richness of
v, are given by information which these looping patterns can pro
duce for infinitely long s. This may be relevant to
A=~J~/N, v,= (i0.5)~v+Vmin, some problems in molecular biology.
2max I shown in fig.
E~v(v
~IN
max ii mini, \(7~ ~ From the plot of the most probable
. . value of the
Some of the obtained numerical results for a = 0.01, 4Lyapunov exponent
we can observe thatdistnbution
for some value
I of noise inten
(a)
(b)
Fig. 2. Examples of spatial plot for eq. (5): (a) A = 0.0015; (b) A = 0.0080.
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Volume 147, number 5,6 PHYSICS LETTERS A 16 July 1990
Fig. 3. Spatial strange attractors for eq. (8), 5=0.l5, b=l, a=0.94; (a) w=l.56,A=0; (b) w= l.58,A=0; (c) w=l.56, A=0.l; (d)
1. 58, A= 0. 15.
0 _______________________________________1 of chaosprocess)
chastic (transition
in thefrom
sensechaotic to regular
of symbolic sto
dynamics
as shown in the spatial plot of fig. Sb. The shape of
Xmax~
(c)
0.3
0.01 IAI 0.1
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Volume 147, number 5,6 PHYSICS LETTERS A 16 July 1990
loops in the spatial plot is not the same because of one finds the following GinzburgLandau type equa
random forcing, but if we indicate the upper loop as tion [17]:
1 and the lower one as 0 we obtain a periodic se
a,A(Y2A+i~3Af+i(Yqk+(YSAIA12=0, (10)
quence of symbols:
where i=&l, an accent denotes d/dx and a dot
000111000111000111000111...,
denotes dldt.
while for the chaotic spatial plots of figs. 5a and 5c On the other hand the PDE may be drastically re
we have aperiodic sequences: duced to an ODE by reducing stretching to only
xl =ex. This leads to the following stationary non
0001
i i iooooiooioooi
ioooi... linear Schrodinger equation [ 17 1,
and
~,Acx,A+~,A(A~~=O. (11)
000111011100111010011100....
This equation is easily integrated by elementary
Another interesting type of behaviour can be ob methods and gives the soliton solution
served if we consider a particular form of eq. (5 ) by
taking a=O, N= 2 and v, and v2 to be incommen
surable. In this case we can observe the behaviour

A=jk sech(sx,) , (12)
presented in fig. 5d which seems to be chaotic. it is for (Y= c, = c2= c3= r= 1. The homoclinicity of this
chaotic in the sense that it has an aperiodic sequence solution may be established easily as shown in ref.
in the symbolic representation:
191.
0111001001110001110101110010100..., An optimum choice of the number of slow spaces
and slow times which restores the dynamical char
but we have no sensitive dependence on the initial acter of the problem we have, however, when we take
conditions as the Lyapunov exponents are negative.
x1 ==o, t, =&to, t2 =E2f, .
This type of spatial strange behaviour is related to
the socalled strange nonchaotic attractors [ 23251. This leads to the nonlinear Schrijdinger equation
a,Aa2A+ia,k+a,AIA12=0, (13)
3. Instability waves in an elastic structure 
envelope soliton with the wellknown solution [ 171
A(x, t) I 1=1,,=a sech bx cos cx , (14)
Consider the following nonlinear partial differ
ential equation which may be used to describe the where a, b and c are constant.
propagation of buckling waves in an elastic medium Either way we expect spatial forcing to yield spa
such as the axisymmetrical deformation of an axially tial envelope soliton chaos. Thus we consider first
compressed cylindrical shell, the periodically forced equation
cY~+uw +c* wc1 w2+pw=o. (9) A+k,Ak2A+kSA3=k4cosk5s. (15)
For a radial strain obeying a logarithmic law, this The results of the numerical integrations for differ
equation was used in refs. [ 9,13 ] to study the insta ent parameter values which are: kl =O.Ol, k2 =
bility waves due to buckling. 0.25,k3=19/(4x18),k,=1 anddifferentvaluesof
Now depending on the number of slow spaces and k4 are shown in fig. 6. They fully confirm the ex
slow time, different reduced differential equations pectations expressed earlier in refs. [ 5,9,13 1.
for the complex amplitude of deflection A may be Subsequently the forcing by bandlimited white
obtained. For instance, using noise,
x=x0, x1 =&xl), X*=&2X,
A+klAk2A+k3A3=A 5 cos(vis+yi), (16)
t=to, t, =&to, t2 =E2t* ) i=l
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