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:

Spontaneous Looping of Twisted Elastic Rods

Alain Goriely

∗†

and Michael Tabor

∗

∗

University of Arizona, Program in Applied Mathematics,

Building #89, Tucson, AZ85721, USA

†

Universit´e Libre de Bruxelles, D´epartement de Math´ematique, CP218/1

1050 Brussels, Belgium, e-mail: agoriel@ ulb.ac.be

Submitted to Proc. Roy. Soc. A

Abstract

Everyday experience shows that twisted elastic ﬁlaments spontaneously form loops. We model

the dynamics of this looping process as a sequence of bifurcations of the solutions to the Kirchhoﬀ

equation describing the evolution of thin elastic ﬁlament. The control parameter is taken to be

the initial twist density in a straight rod. The ﬁrst bifurcation occurs when the twisted straight

rod deforms into a helix. This helix is an exact solution of the Kirchhoﬀ equations whose stability

can be studied. The secondary bifurcation is reached when the helix itself becomes unstable

and the localization of the post-bifurcation modes is demonstrated for these solutions. Finally,

the tertiary bifurcation takes place when a loop forms at the middle of the rod and the looping

becomes ineluctable. Emphasis is put on the dynamical character of the phenomena by studying

the dispersion relation and deriving amplitude equations for the diﬀerent conﬁgurations.

1 Introduction

Everybody has been faced at one point or another with the impossible tangles formed by coiled

telephone chords. The mechanism by which a telephone chord entangles with itself is a generic

phenomenon encountered in many contexts. It is one of the most basic forms of instability encountered

with elastic ﬁlaments and is usually referred to as the writhing instability, i.e., a change in spatial

conﬁguration of the ﬁlament to reduce the overall twist of the unstable structure. Consider the

following experiment: a straight elastic ﬁlament is held between one’s ﬁngers and twist is injected

by rotating one end while holding the other one ﬁxed. After a small amount of twist has been

added (small rotation), the ﬁlament is no longer straight but assumes a helical form (with very small

radius). As the twist is increased the deformation of the ﬁlament tends to localize in the middle of the

rod and eventually a loop forms (see Fig. 1). Experimental studies of ﬁlament twisting (Thompson

& Champneys, 1996) have shown that this sequence of bifurcations is qualitatively correct. It is the

purpose of this paper to study and describe this looping process as a sequence of dynamical instabilities

within the framework of elasticity theory.

The starting point of almost all analyses of twisted ﬁlaments is the Kirchhoﬀ equations. This

set of partial diﬀerential equations describes the time and space evolution of a ﬁlament subjected to

external stresses (induced by applied forces and moments at the ends). The classical analysis (Love,

1892; Timoshenko & Gere, 1961) of the stationary equations suggests that a straight, twisted elastic

ﬁlament deforms into a helix. However, these analyses are limited in many respects. First, they do

not include or explain the dynamical phenomena triggering such an instability. Second, while the

period of the helix can be easily computed by linear theory, its radius cannot be obtained. Third, it is

not known from this analysis whether the new helix is itself stable. Other analyses of the stationary

equation (Coyne, 1990) propose a completely diﬀerent scenario for the looping by exhibiting a family

of stationary solutions (valid only for a restricted class of boundary conditions) deforming continuously

1

a

b

c

d

e

f

γ

γ

i

n

c

r

e

a

s

e

s

: twist

Figure 1: A schematic description of the sequence of bifurcation of a looping process

2

from a straight rod to a loop. We will come back to these solutions and their relationship with our

model in the ﬁnal discussion.

The analysis presented here departs radically from previous studies. We consider the dynamical

instabilities as the main mechanism triggering the changes in ﬁlament conﬁguration. The looping

process is then explained as a sequence of bifurcations of the solutions to the Kirchhoﬀ equations in

which the twist density is taken as a control parameter. The ﬁrst bifurcation occurs when the straight

twisted ﬁlament becomes unstable. It deforms to a helix whose radius can be computed by a nonlinear

analysis (Goriely & Tabor, 1996; Goriely & Tabor, 1997a; Goriely & Tabor, 1997b). It is then argued

that this new helix is itself an exact solution to the Kirchhoﬀ model and that it’s stability can in turn

be studied by recently developed methods (Goriely & Tabor, 1997c). The new physical parameters

associated with this helix (which are required for the associated stability analysis), such as the twist

density, can be deduced from energetic considerations.

Another view of looping, which does not utilize Kirchhoﬀ dynamics, has been proposed by

Ricca (Ricca, 1995) and is based on a consideration of the elastic energy of various space curve

conﬁgurations.

The secondary bifurcation occurs when the helix itself becomes unstable. The unstable mode of the

helix tends to localize the deformation at one point of the rod and forms a loop. Mode localization is a

well-known experimental and theoretical phenomena for plates or ﬁlaments under stress (Tvergaard &

Needleman, 1980; Pomeau, 1981; Damil & Pottier-Ferry, 1986; Champneys & Thompson, 1997). Our

analysis provides a simple dynamical model explaining the tendency of stressed ﬁlamentary structures

to localize the deformations. Finally, the nonlinear analysis is used to compute the amplitude of the

deformation and the tertiary bifurcation is reached when the loop collapses onto itself.

As already mentioned, Thompson and Champneys have performed detailed experiments on the

buckling, localization and looping of straight twisted rod (Thompson & Champneys, 1996). They

show that the straight rod ﬁrst bifurcates into a helix. Then, the helical solution further localizes

until a “small dynamic jump” occurs and a loop is formed. The analysis presented here is only

slightly diﬀerent than the one experimentally observed. The discrepancies between the sequence of

events they describe in the paper and the one we use in ours are of two types: First a quantitative

diﬀerence, the ﬁrst bifurcation does not occur with the same wavelength (the famous one-turn-per-

wave). The authors have indeed later shown that this puzzling discrepancy from the classical buckling

theory results from the inﬂuence of small initial curvature in the rod (Champneys, van der Heyden

& Thompson, 1997). Therefore this discrepancy cannot appear in our analysis (since we never take

this eﬀect into account and work only with the simplest possible hypothesis). The second diﬀerence

come from the observed “continuous localization” of the helical rod whereas we talk of a secondary

bifurcation. One of the conclusion that we draw from our analysis is that for long enough rods, the

ﬁrst and secondary bifurcation are so close that they would actually be indistinguishable. After the

secondary bifurcation, our theory also predicts continuous localization until the tertiary bifurcation

point is reached (equivalent to the “dynamic jump” of Thompson and Champneys). Therefore, we

believe that the sequence of events described in our paper is qualitatively consistent with the one

described in Thompson and Champneys.

The paper is organized as follows. In Section 2, we describe the general setup, the Kirchhoﬀ model

and brieﬂy review the linear and nonlinear methods that will be used. Since our proposed model is

quite elaborate and uses ideas from both linear and nonlinear stability theory we give a summary of

the proposed three step process in Section 3 and then each of these steps is discussed in detail in the

sections that follow. In Section 4 we study the primary bifurcation of the straight rod and obtain the

post-bifurcation helix. In Section 5, the linear and nonlinear analysis of the helix is performed and

we show the tendency to localization. In Section 6 we ﬁnd the tertiary bifurcation where the looping

ﬁrst occurs.

2 General setup

The derivation of the Kirchhoﬀ model has been explained in detail in earlier paper (Goriely & Tabor,

1997a; Goriely & Tabor, 1997b). Here, we review the most important aspects of the theory relevant to

the problem. We ﬁrst explain the kinematics of space-curves by introducing a director basis attached

to a general space-curve and then the dynamics of rods is described within the approximation of linear

elasticity theory. The section ends with a brief review of the linear and nonlinear stability methods.

3

2.1 Spin and twist

Let X = X(s, t) : R×R →R

3

be a time dependent space curve, parameterized by the arc length s.

A director basis {d

1

, d

2

, d

3

} can be attached to the curve as follows: The vector d

3

(s, t) = X

(s, t) is

the tangent vector of X at s (the prime denotes the s-derivative). The vectors {d

1

(s, t), d

2

(s, t)} are

chosen such that {d

1

, d

2

, d

3

} forms, a right-handed orthonormal triad (d

1

×d

2

= d

3

, d

2

×d

3

= d

1

). If

d

1

is along d

3

, the director basis specializes to the well-know Frenet triad for which d

1

is the normal

vector and d

2

the bi-normal vector. The curve X = X(s, t) can be obtained by integrating the tangent

vector: X(s, t) =

_

s

d

3

(s, t)ds.

The space and time evolution of the director basis speciﬁes the kinematics of the space-curve X :

d

i

=

3

j=1

K

ij

d

j

i = 1, 2, 3, (1.a)

˙

d

i

=

3

j=1

W

ij

d

j

i = 1, 2, 3, (1.b)

where

˙

( ) stands for the time derivative. The antisymmetry of W and K:

K =

_

_

0 κ

3

−κ

2

−κ

3

0 κ

1

κ

2

−κ

1

0

_

_

, W =

_

_

0 ω

3

−ω

2

−ω

3

0 ω

1

ω

2

−ω

1

0

_

_

, (2)

is a consequence of the orthonormality of the basis. The elements of K and W make up the components

of the twist and spin vectors; namely κ =

3

i=1

κ

i

d

i

and ω =

3

i=1

ω

i

d

i

.

2.2 The Kirchhoﬀ model

The Kirchhoﬀ model describes the space and time evolution of thin ﬁlaments, i.e. ﬁlaments whose

length is much greater than their radius and whose curvature is suﬃciently large relative to the small

length scales in the problem. In this approximation all physically relevant quantities characterizing

the three-dimensional elastic body are averaged over the cross sections attached to the central axis of

the ﬁlament. This results in a one-dimensional theory.

The total force, F = F(s, t), and the total moment, M = M(s, t), are expanded in terms of

the director basis; namely, F =

3

i=1

f

i

d

i

, M =

3

i=1

M

i

d

i

. The Kirchhoﬀ model expresses the

conservation of linear and angular momentum together with the constitutive relationship of linear

elasticity relating the moments to the strains as characterized by the twist vector. For a naturally

straight rod (i.e., no intrinsic curvature or twist) with circular cross-section the scaled equations

read (Dill, 1992; Coleman et al., 1993):

F

=

¨

d

3

, (3.a)

M

+d

3

×F = d

1

×

¨

d

1

+d

2

×

¨

d

2

, (3.b)

M = κ

1

d

1

+κ

2

d

2

+ Γκ

3

d

3

, (3.c)

where Γ = 1/(1 +σ) (where σ is the Poisson ratio) measures the ratio between bending and twisting

coeﬃcients of the rod. These equations, together with (1) can be reduced to a set of 9 equations,

second order in space and time, for the 9 unknowns (κ, ω, f).

A constant twist γ of an elastic rod about its axis can be conveniently introduced by using the

extra degree of freedom provided by the director basis. The vectors d

1

and d

2

can be chosen such

that they rotate around d

3

in the normal plane at a constant rate (with respect to the arc-length), γ,

independent of the space curve torsion. This axial twist is conveniently visualized as the twist of a

“ribbon” about the rod axis and, where appropriate, it is referred to as the ribbon twist. An equivalent

way of introducing the twist γ is to deﬁne a new set of variables rotating with the basis. That is,

rather than using the variables {κ, ω, f}, a new set of variables {ˆ κ, ˆ ω,

ˆ

f} is obtained by introducing a

constant rotation along d

3

and a translation of the vector κ. The rotated vectors are now:

4

ˆ ω = R.ω,

ˆ

f = R.f, (4.a)

ˆ κ

i

=

3

j=1

(R

ij

−δ

j3

γ) κ

j

(4.b)

ˆ

d

i

=

3

j=1

R

ij

.d

j

, i = 1, 2, 3, (4.c)

where

R =

_

_

cos(γs) −sin(γs) 0

sin(γs) cos(γs) 0

0 0 1

_

_

(5)

The force, spin and twist vector are form invariant with respect to the change of variables:

ˆ κ =

3

i=1

ˆ κ

i

ˆ

d

i

, ˆ ω =

3

i=1

ˆ ω

i

ˆ

d

i

,

ˆ

F =

3

i=1

ˆ

f

i

ˆ

d

i

. The transformed Kirchhoﬀ equations read:

ˆ

F

=

¨

ˆ

d

3

, (6.a)

ˆ

M

+

ˆ

d

3

×

ˆ

F =

ˆ

d

1

×

¨

ˆ

d

1

+

ˆ

d

2

×

¨

ˆ

d

2

, (6.b)

ˆ

M = ˆ κ

1

ˆ

d

1

+ ˆ κ

2

ˆ

d

2

+ Γ(ˆ κ

3

+γ)

ˆ

d

3

, (6.c)

Note also that due to the translation on the last component of the curvature vector, we now have:

ˆ κ.

ˆ

d

3

= ˆ κ

3

+γ

The main advantage of this representation is that simple stationary ﬁlament conﬁgurations can

be conveniently expressed as constant solutions of the Kirchhoﬀ equations. For instance, the straight

rod with constant twist, γ, and axial force, f

3

, has:

ω = (0, 0, 0), κ = (0, 0, γ) , f = (0, 0, f

3

) . (7)

which transform under (4) to:

ˆ κ = ˆ ω = (0, 0, 0) ,

ˆ

f = (0, 0, f

3

) . (8)

In the same way, a helical ﬁlament with twist γ = γ

H

and Frenet curvature and torsion κ

F

, τ

F

which

takes the form (Goriely & Tabor, 1997c):

X

H

=

_

τ

F

s

δ

,

κ

F

δ

cos(δs),

κ

F

δ

sin(δs)

_

, δ

2

= κ

2

F

+τ

2

F

, (9)

with

κ = (κ

F

sin(γs), κ

F

cos(γs), τ

F

+γ) , (10.a)

ω = (0, 0, 0) , (10.b)

f = (f

0

sin(γs), f

0

cos(γs),

τ

F

κ

F

f

0

) (10.c)

where f

0

= −τ

F

κ

F

+ Γκ

F

τ

F

, can also be written as a constant solution in terms of (ˆ κ,

ˆ

f), i.e.

ˆ κ = (0, κ

F

, τ

F

) , ω = (0, 0, 0) , (11.a)

ˆ

f = (0, κ

F

γΓ +κ

F

τ

F

(Γ −1), τ

F

(τ

F

(Γ −1) + Γγ)) . (11.b)

We now drop the hats and consider system (6) as the main system of equations studied here.

5

2.3 Perturbation expansions

To study the stability of stationary solutions, we developed a perturbation method at the level of the

director basis (Goriely & Tabor, 1996; Goriely & Tabor, 1997a; Goriely & Tabor, 1997b; Goriely &

Tabor, 1997c) . The main idea is to expand all local quantities around the local stationary solutions

and close the system to each order in the perturbation parameter by demanding that the basis remain

orthonormal up to a given order:

d

i

= d

(0)

i

+d

(1)

i

+

2

d

(2)

i

+... i = 1, 2, 3, (12)

The orthonormality condition d

i

.d

j

= δ

ij

gives rise to a system of constraints which can be solved to

each order:

d

(1)

i

=

3

j=1

A

(1)

ij

d

(0)

j

, (13.a)

d

(k)

i

=

3

j=1

_

A

(k)

ij

+S

(k)

ij

_

d

(0)

j

, k > 1, (13.b)

where S

(k)

is a symmetric matrix whose entries depend only on α

(j)

i

with j < k and A

(k)

is the

antisymmetric matrix:

A

(k)

=

_

_

_

0 α

(k)

3

−α

(k)

2

−α

(k)

3

0 α

(k)

1

α

(k)

2

−α

(k)

1

0

_

_

_, (14)

Once the vector α

(k)

is known, it is an easy matter to obtain the perturbed solution by integrating

the tangent vector up to any given order:

X(s, t) =

_

s

ds

3

i=1

_

_

δ

3i

+A

3i

+

k

j=2

k

(A

(k)

3i

+S

(k)

3i

)

_

_

d

(0)

i

+O(

k+1

). (15)

Any local vector V =

3

i=1

v

i

d

i

can be expanded in terms of the perturbed basis; namely

V = V

(0)

+V

(1)

+

2

V

(2)

+... :

V

(1)

=

i

_

v

(1)

i

+ (A

(1)

.v

(0)

)

i

_

d

(0)

i

. (16)

Hence we can express the ﬁrst order perturbation of the twist and spin matrix, i.e. K = K

(0)

+

K

(1)

+..., W = W

(0)

+W

(1)

+..., where

K

(1)

=

∂A

(1)

∂s

+

_

A

(1)

, K

(0)

_

, (17.a)

W

(1)

=

∂A

(1)

∂t

+

_

A

(1)

, W

(0)

_

. (17.b)

where [A, B] = A.B − B.A. Higher order perturbations can be obtained in terms of the lower order

terms.

Using these equations, one can write the k-th order perturbation of Newton’s equation (6.a)

and moment’s equation (6.b) in terms of {α

(k)

, f

(k)

}. The ﬁrst of this system (k = 1), referred

to as the dynamical variational equations, controls the stability of the stationary solutions with

respect to linear time-dependent modes. Higher-order modes provide better approximations of the

perturbed solutions and are used to perform a nonlinear analysis. To emphasize the linear character

of these equations we rewrite them as a linear system of 6 equations for the 6-dimensional vector

µ

(0)

= {κ

(0)

, f

(0)

}, µ

(k)

= {α

(k)

, f

(k)

}, k > 0:

6

L

E

(µ

(0)

).µ

(1)

= 0, (18.a)

L

E

(µ

(0)

).µ

(k)

= H

k

(µ

(0)

, µ

(1)

, . . . , µ

(k−1)

), k > 1 (18.b)

where L

E

is a linear diﬀerential operator in s and t whose coeﬃcients may depend on s through

the unperturbed solution µ

(0)

= {κ

(0)

, f

(0)

} and H

k

are vector valued functions depending on the

variables (µ

(0)

, . . . , µ

(k−1)

).

2.4 Linear stability analysis

The linear stability of stationary solutions is determined through the use of (18.a). It has a set of

fundamental solutions which we label by the spatial mode number n, i.e.

µ

(1)

n

= ξ

n

e

σt+i

ns

L

, (19)

where ξ

n

∈ C

6

. The growth rate of this mode, σ = σ(n), is determined by the dispersion relation:

∆(σ, n) = det(L

E

) = 0 obtained by substituting (19) into (18.a). Typically ∆ is a very complicated

expression which is best derived by symbolic manipulation. The threshold of instability is heralded

by a change in sign of (the real part of) σ and can be determined by examining the neutral curves

corresponding to the parameter values, for given n, for which σ = 0. These curves are thus solutions

of ∆(0, n) = 0. In what follows all our statements concerning critical values of twist (or tension) at

which a given conﬁguration becomes unstable are based on their determination from the dispersion

relations.

Of course the linear analysis can only identify the initial instabilities as a function of the parameters.

As these instabilities grow (exponentially) in time the linear approximation breaks down and any

further description of the bifurcation requires a nonlinear analysis.

2.5 Nonlinear analysis

The techniques of nonlinear analysis enable one to derive equations for the amplitude of a solution

close to bifurcation. The distance from the bifurcation point is considered to be of the order of the

perturbation itself and this relationship is used to introduce new, longer, space and time scales over

which the solution varies. For the problems considered here, the twist γ is taken as the the control

(or “stress”) parameter and one sets

2

= γ −γ

c

. (20)

where γ

c

is the critical value at which the bifurcation occurs.

Stretched time and space scales appropriate to the problem at hand are introduced:

t

0

= t, s

0

= s, (21)

t

1

= t, s

1

= s. (22)

and taking into account the expansion in the bifurcation parameter and the new scales, one seeks

solutions of the full system (c.f. equations (18) order by order in :

0(

0

) : E(µ

(0)

; s

0

, t

0

) = 0 (23.a)

0(

1

) : L

(0)

E

(µ

(0)

).µ

(1)

= 0 (23.b)

0(

2

) : L

(0)

E

(µ

(0)

).µ

(2)

+L

(1)

E

(µ

(0)

).µ

(1)

= H

2

(µ

(1)

) (23.c)

0(

3

) : L

(0)

E

(µ

(0)

).µ

(3)

+L

(1)

E

(µ

(0)

).µ

(2)

+L

(1)

E

(µ

(0)

).µ

(1)

= H

3

(µ

(1)

, µ

(2)

) (23.d)

.

.

.

7

where now the µ

(i)

are functions of the stretched variables, i.e. µ

(i)

= µ

(i)

(s

0

, s

1

, ..., t

0

, t

1

, ..) and

L

E

=

i

L

(i)

E

is the expansion of the linear operator in terms of the new variables (s

i

, t

i

). These

linear solutions (c.f. (19)) are written as a superposition of the neutral modes: for example, to O(),

µ

(1)

will involve terms of the form X

n

(s

1

, t

1

)ξ

n

e

i

ncs

0

L

where X

n

(s

1

, t

1

) represents the slowly varying

amplitude of the unstable mode n = n

c

. A nonlinear amplitude equation for this slowly varying

amplitude arises as a condition (the Fredholm alternative) that the solutions µ

(i)

remain bounded.

Typically one ﬁnds this condition at O(

3

) and its derivation involves, at least in the cases considered

here, massive symbolic manipulation.

In the case of a straight rod, discussed in the next section, the nonlinear amplitude equation takes

the form of a (system of) nonlinear partial diﬀerential equations and the amplitude(s) can be thought

of as the envelope of a small packet of unstable wave numbers centered around the unstable mode. In

other cases, such as the helical problem considered later, we are only interested in the amplitude of an

isolated mode and in this case, as will be shown explicitly, one derives a simpler nonlinear ordinary

diﬀerential equation.

3 Summary of looping mechanism

The sequence of bifurcations that constitutes our model of spontaneous looping are, in summary, as

follows:

• Primary Bifurcation

(a) Starting with a straight rod, with arbitrary twist, γ

S

, and tension φ

2

, linear stability analysis

is used to show that it becomes unstable (for a given φ) at a critical twist value γ

S

= γ

1

and then

bifurcates into a helix.

(b) The precise geometrical form of the helix is identiﬁed by using nonlinear analysis to determine it’s

amplitude.

(c) Using energy considerations the redistribution of the straight rod twist, γ

S

, into twist and torsion

of the new helix is determined. The helix is then speciﬁed by its curvature κ

F

, torsion τ

F

and twist

γ

H

.

• Secondary Bifurcation

(a) A linear stability analysis of the helix obtained in step (a) is carried out and the critical twist

value, γ

H

= γ

2

, at which it becomes unstable is determined.

(b) The (linear) post-bifurcation solutions are constructed and a one-loop solution, of arbitrary am-

plitude B, is identiﬁed.

(c) A nonlinear analysis of the unstable helical mode found in step (b) is used to determine the am-

plitude of the loop.

• Tertiary Bifurcation

(a) A simple criteria is developed to determine the critical B value, B

c

, at which the loop will ﬂip (

i.e. the onset of looping).

(b) The twist value, γ

3

, at which this loop amplitude equals B

c

is found.

The various special values of the twist, γ

H

, γ

2

, γ

3

, can all be related back to the initial twist density,

γ

S

, injected into the straight rod. Thus, in what follows, the term “control” parameter refers to the

value of γ

S

.

8

Process Parameters Deﬁnition of parameters

Initial straight γ

S

Twist density in straight rod

twisted rod φ

2

Tension in straight rod

(Fig 1a) γ

1

Value of γ

S

where the rod is unstable

Primary bifurcation κ

F

, τ

F

Frenet curvature and torsion of helix

Straight rod → helix γ

H

Axial twist

(Fig 1b) A Amplitude of the helix

Secondary bifurcation γ

2

Value of γ

S

where the helix is unstable

Helix becomes linearly B Amplitude of the ﬁrst mode of deformation

unstable (Fig 1c) of the helix

Tertiary bifurcation γ

3

Value of γ

S

where the loop collapses

Looping occurs B

c

Critical value of the amplitude for looping

(Fig 1d)

Table 1: The diﬀerent bifurcations and the new parameters introduced at each step

4 Primary bifurcation: Instability of a straight twisted rod

We consider a stationary rod of length L, simply supported, with tension T = φ

2

along the x-axis and

twist γ

S

. Rather than considering general boundary conditions, we just consider the case in which the

tangents at the ends can assume any values while the tension along the x-axis is kept constant. We

assume that these boundary conditions are maintained throughout the sequence of bifurcation and

that the unique control parameter is the twist γ

S

. The eﬀect of other type of boundary conditions

will be further discussed in the ﬁnal section. The stationary solution is given by:

µ

(0)

=

_

0, 0, 0, 0, 0, φ

2

_

. (24)

4.1 Linear analysis

Using the techniques of linear stability analysis we are able to derive the dispersion relations for this

case (Goriely & Tabor, 1996; Goriely & Tabor, 1997b) and obtain the neutral curve from the relation

∆(0, n; γ

S

) = 0, where

∆(n; γ

S

) =

_

L

2

γ

S

2

−n

2

_

_

_

L

2

γ

S

2

(Γ −1) −L

2

φ

2

−n

2

_

2

−L

2

γ

S

2

(Γ −2)

2

n

2

_

(25)

From this one can deduce that the ﬁrst instability occurs for the critical mode

n

c

=

φL(2 −Γ)

Γ

(26)

with critical twist value

γ

1

=

2φ

Γ

, (27)

This condition for the ﬁrst instability is the classical buckling condition that can be found

in (Timoshenko & Gere, 1961) but written in re-scaled variables. For, γ

S

bigger than, but close

to, γ

1

, the straight rod bifurcates to the helix:

X

H

(s) =

_

s,

A

φ

cos φs,

A

φ

sin φs

_

. (28)

4.2 Nonlinear analysis

The linear analysis does not specify the amplitude A of the new solution. However, a nonlinear

analysis can be performed (Goriely & Tabor, 1997b) yielding an amplitude equation consisting of a

system of nonlinear partial diﬀerential equations coupling the amplitude of the unstable mode to the

ﬁlament twist density. The stationary solution of this amplitude equation gives the amplitude A as a

function of γ

S

, namely:

9

A

2

= 2

(γ

S

−γ

1

)

φ

. (29)

4.3 Resummation

The remarkable feature of the ﬁrst bifurcation is that the new solution (28) is an exact solution of

the Kirchhoﬀ equations. Indeed, as was shown explicitly in the ﬁrst section, it is well-know that

the Kirchhoﬀ system sustains helicoidal solutions. This property can also be seen at the level of

the perturbation expansion. Thus, if we carry on the perturbation analysis to higher-order in and

solve the subsequent linear system (18), it can be observed that the eﬀect of higher-order corrections

µ

(2)

, µ

(3)

, . . . is to provide correction to the radius of the helix without changing the overall form of the

solution (that is, higher-orders do not introduce higher-order “harmonics”). Since the second order

in provides correction of the radius of order A

2

and, as shown below, the radius A is small at the

second bifurcation, the ﬁrst order approximation of the helix is suﬃcient for our analysis. Therefore,

to study the stability of the perturbed helicoidal solution, one can study the stability of the new exact

stationary solutions by taking the zeroth-order solution to be the helix itself with parameters given

by the nonlinear analysis of the straight rod.

In order to study the stability of the helix (28), we ﬁrst re-write it in the standard form (9):

X

H

=

_

τ

F

˜ s

δ

,

κ

F

δ

cos(δ˜ s),

κ

F

δ

sin(δ˜ s)

_

, δ

2

= κ

2

F

+τ

2

F

, (30)

where ˜ s is the arc-length along X

H

(as opposed to s which is the arc length along the original straight

rod). The identiﬁcation of (30) with (28) gives:

τ

F

=

φ

1 +A

2

, κ

F

=

Aφ

1 +A

2

, (31.a)

δ =

φ

√

1 +A

2

, ˜ s =

s

√

1 +A

2

, (31.b)

The tangential force is determined from the relation f

(H)

3

= φ

2

cos θ, where θ is the pitch angle of

the helix (tan θ =

κ

F

τ

F

). Hence

f

(H)

3

=

φ

2

√

1 +A

2

. (32)

So far, we have computed the geometrical parameters of the new helical (space) curve. However,

our elastic ﬁlament also has an imposed twist. In the deformation from straight rod to helical ﬁlament,

the twist density changes. In order to ﬁnd the exact new twist density corresponding to the helical

ﬁlament, we compute the energy for both structures.

The total energy of the system is:

H =

_

L

0

ds

_

κ

2

1

+κ

2

2

+ Γ(κ

3

+γ)

2

+φ

2

cos θ

¸

, (33)

where, the two ﬁrst terms in the integral represent the elastic energy due to curvature eﬀects, the

third one the elastic energy due to torsion and twist and the last one, the potential energy due to

external constraints.

For the straight rod and the helices, we have, respectively:

κ

S

= (0, 0, 0), γ = γ

S

, (34.a)

κ

H

= (0, κ

F

, τ

F

), γ = γ

H

, (34.b)

where γ

H

is the unknown ribbon twist superimposed on the helical curve of Frenet torsion τ

F

and

curvature κ

F

. The ribbon twist is the actual twist of the rod: it represents the rotation in the cross-

section of the director basis with respect to the Frenet basis. The energies of the straight rod and

helix are, respectively:

10

H

S

= L(Γγ

2

S

+φ

2

), (35.a)

H

H

= L

_

κ

2

F

+ Γ(τ

F

+γ

H

)

2

+φδ

¸

. (35.b)

Assuming conservation of energy and equating (35.a) and (35.b), the helical ribbon twist is found to

be

γ

H

= −τ

F

±

_

Γγ

2

S

+φ(φ −δ) −κ

2

F

Γ

, (36)

where the choice of sign is yet to be determined.

There is a degeneracy in the limit where the radius of a helix shrinks to zero. Indeed, in the limit

A → 0, both torsion τ

F

and twist γ

H

contribute to the total twist of the straight rod γ

S

. Formally,

a twisted straight rod can be written as a helix with zero radius, zero twist and ﬁnite torsion or a

helix with zero radius, zero torsion and ﬁnite twist or any combination of the two. Therefore, in order

to relate the ribbon twist γ

H

to the twist γ

S

as A → 0 we introduce the pseudo-torsion τ

0

and the

residual twist γ

0

of a straight rod as the limits:

τ

0

= lim

A→0

τ

F

, (37.a)

γ

0

= lim

A→0

γ

H

. (37.b)

The twist of the straight rod, viewed as the limit of the helix with vanishing radius, is simply

γ

S

= τ

0

+γ

0

, and in general, we have:

κ.d

3

= τ

F

+γ

H

, (38)

for all A ≥ 0.

In the limit A → 0, the twist density goes to γ

1

and the residual twist is γ

0

= γ

1

− τ

0

= φ

(2−Γ)

Γ

.

The sign determination in (36) can now be found by demanding that γ

H

→γ

0

as the radius vanishes.

Thus

γ

H

= −τ

F

+

_

Γγ

2

S

+φ(φ −δ) −κ

2

F

Γ

(39)

We now have all the parameters of the helix as a function of the initial twist density γ

S

. Indeed,

the radius A is a function of γ

S

(see (29)), and the Frenet curvature and torsion are function of A

through (31.a). Finally the ribbon twist is expressed in terms of all the other parameters and γ

S

.

Therefore, the parameters (κ

F

, τ

F

, γ

H

) describing the helical ﬁlament are know in terms of γ

S

and

the stability of the helix as a function of the control parameter γ

S

and the number of helical turn

N =

δL

2π

can now be analyzed.

5 Secondary bifurcation: Instability of the helix

An extensive study of the stability of helices has been given in (Goriely & Tabor, 1997c). We base

the following analysis on this work and specialize it to the family of helices, obtained in the previous

section, with one free parameter (the control parameter γ

S

). The stationary solution is written as

(c.f. equations (11)):

µ

(0)

=

_

0, κ

F

, τ

F

, 0, κ

F

γ

H

Γ +κ

F

τ

F

(Γ −1), τ

F

γ

H

Γ +τ

2

F

(Γ −1)

_

. (40)

where the helical ribbon twist, γ

H

, the curvature and the torsion should be thought of in terms of it’s

relationship to the control parameter γ

S

.

11

-6

-5

-4

-3

-2

-1

0

1

1 2 3 4 5

γ = γ

1

γ

1

<

γ

< γ

2

γ = γ

2

γ > γ

2

n: mode

σ: growth rate ( x 10

-6

)

Figure 2: Solutions of the dispersion relation for σ

2

as a function of n with increasing values of

γ

S

= 0.2267, 0.2675, 0.2687, 0.2695. Γ=3/4, φ = 1/10, N = 5

5.1 Linear analysis

The fundamental mode solutions to the variational equations (18.a) are of the form:

µ

(1)

n

= ξ

n

e

σnt+iδ

ns

N

, (41)

where ξ

n

∈ C

6

and n denotes the mode number which, due to the choice of boundary conditions, is an

integer between 1 and N. The explicit form of the linear operator L

E

as a function of the curvature,

torsion, twist and tension is given in (Goriely & Tabor, 1997c) and from this the dispersion relations,

∆(σ, n; γ

H

) = 0 can be obtained in the usual way. A typical plot of them is shown on Fig. 2 for

increasing value of γ

H

.

The neutral curve is determined from ∆(0, n; γ

H

) = 0, where

∆(0, n; γ

H

) = (Γ −1)(Γ −2)τ

2

F

+ 2Γ(Γ −2)γ

H

τ

F

+ Γ

2

γ

2

H

+δ

2

(1 −

n

2

N

2

) (42)

For given n, one can then read oﬀ the the value of γ

H

at which the instability occurs. In general,

diﬀerent modes n can become unstable; however, within the family of helices parameterized by γ

S

,

the mode n = 1 is always the ﬁrst unstable mode as the control parameter is increased. It is this case

that corresponds to our “secondary” bifurcation.

Let γ

2

be the critical value at which new solutions appear, i.e. ∆(0, 1; γ

2

) = 0. This last

relation is transcendental in γ

S

; therefore, the exact value ofγ

2

as a function of γ

S

cannot be

obtained. Nevertheless, by expanding all the parameters to ﬁrst order in (γ

S

− γ

1

), a remarkably

good approximation of γ

2

is found:

γ

2

= γ

1

+

4φ

4N

2

+ (3Γ + 16)N + 4

(43)

The approximation obtained by expanding the parameters to second-order in (γ

S

−γ

1

) only slightly

improves this last result. The diﬀerence γ

2

− γ

1

is always very small and decreases to zero as the

12

a

b

Figure 3: The deformation of a helix due to the unstable mode n = 1, a) to ﬁrst-order, b) to second

order. The parameters are: Γ = 3/4, φ = 1/10, N = 5, K = 20 and s runs from 80 to 80+100π

number of loops N increases. In the limit of an inﬁnite long rod, γ

1

→γ

2

. Therefore, the delay of the

bifurcation is only due to the discretization of modes (induced by the boundary conditions).

At this point, it is of interest to reﬂect on the classical results of elasticity theory. The instability

of the twisted inﬁnite (or ﬁnite) straight rod is a well-known result obtained by many authors (see

(Love, 1892; Timoshenko & Gere, 1961) for instance). However,the stability of the new helix obtained

after bifurcation has, to the best of our knowledge, never been investigated (or even questioned). The

condition (43) gives the instability threshold of the twisted helix obtained after the ﬁrst bifurcation of

a straight rod. It is diﬀerent from the delayed bifurcation condition obtained for a ﬁnite straight rod.

The derivation of this new condition stems from our determination of stability properties directly from

the dynamical Kirchhoﬀ equations. However, it is likely that in real, well-controlled, experiments on

the bifurcation of rods (where the number of loops N may be large) the twisted rod could jump past

the secondary bifurcation (see Thompson and Champneys (1996) for recent experimental data) and

the helical solution might then not be observed.

Since the mode n = 1 is the ﬁrst unstable mode, the eﬀect of the instability is to localize the

solution at one point. Indeed, to ﬁrst-order the explicit form of the bifurcated solution is:

x

1

(s, t) = Pδs −

2NKRν

1

nτ

F

cos(

nδs

N

), (44.a)

x

2

(s, t) = Rcos(δs) −

K

δ

_

ν

2

−ν

1

n −N

sin(

n −N

N

δs) +

ν

2

+ν

1

n +N

sin(

n +N

N

δs)

_

, (44.b)

x

3

(s, t) = Rsin(δs) −

K

δ

_

ν

2

−ν

1

n −N

cos(

n −N

N

δs) −

ν

2

+ν

1

n +N

cos(

n +N

N

δs)

_

(44.c)

where K = Be

σt

and

ν

1

= n

3

τ

F

κ

2

F

δ

5

Γ

_

(n

2

−N

2

)

2

δ

4

n

2

+ (n

2

−N

2

)

2

N

2

δ

2

(σ

2

−2κ

F

) +N

4

σ

2

(N

2

+n

2

)

¸

ν

2

= −Nn

4

δ

4

κ

2

F

τ

F

Γ

_

δ

4

(n

2

−N

2

)(2 −Γ) + 2N

5

n

4

σ

2

¸

(45)

To second-order the approximate solution is much closer to the exact solution since the arc-length

is conserved to order O(

4

). The shape of the bifurcated solution is shown on Fig. 3 to ﬁrst and second

order in .

5.2 Nonlinear analysis

The unstable modes of the helix are discretized due to the boundary conditions. Therefore, a nonlinear

analysis can only take into account the temporal evolution of these discrete modes. At the ﬁrst

instability, there is only one unstable mode, namely n = 1. Thus, we seek to derive an equation

describing the temporal evolution of the mode amplitude B. The corresponding stationary solution of

13

this amplitude equation will give us a relation between the amplitude and the control parameter. As

discussed in Section 2, the main idea behind a (weakly) nonlinear analysis is to look at the solution

near threshold and introduce new scales (in this case, a new time scale) proportional to the distance

to the bifurcation point and let the arbitrary amplitude, B, vary on this time scale. If the system is

close enough to the secondary bifurcation, the diﬀerence between the twist density and the critical

twist γ

2

is proportional to the perturbation parameter itself, namely:

2

= γ

S

−γ

2

(46)

The new, longer, time scale is t

1

= t. The choice of this new scale can be justiﬁed by expanding the

dispersion relation in power of (see (Goriely & Tabor, 1997b)). Taking into account the possibility of

the solutions varying on these (independent) diﬀerent scales, one can now solve the linear system (18).

To ﬁrst order one obtain the linear solution:

µ

(1)

= B(t

1

)ξ

1

e

i

δs

N

+c.c. (47)

where c.c. stands for the complex conjugate and ξ

1

∈ C

6

is speciﬁed such that ξ

1

.ξ

1

= 1.

The second-order solution can be found in the same way by solving (18.b) with k = 2:

µ

(2)

= χ

0

+χ

1

e

i

δs

N

+χ

2

e

2i

δs

N

+c.c., (48)

In order to ﬁnd a condition on the amplitude B(t

1

) we demand that the solutions to the third-

order system (18.b) with k = 3 remains bounded. Thus, we apply the Fredholm alternative to the

system (18.b): here this consists of integrating H

3

against all neutral solutions of the adjoint operator

L

†

E

:

_

L

0

ζ

1

.H

3

(µ

(0)

, µ

(1)

, µ

(2)

)ds = 0, (49)

where ζ

1

is the adjoint solution to µ

(1)

1

(i.e. L

†

E

.ζ

1

= 0) . This compatibility condition gives rise to a

diﬀerential equation for B as a function of t

1

:

∂

2

B

∂t

2

1

= B(c

1

−c

3

|B|

2

) (50)

where c

1

and c

3

are

c

1

= 2Γ

_

(Γ −1)

2

τ

F

2

+ 2 Γγ

c

(Γ −1) τ

F

+ Γ

2

γ

c

2

_

[(2 −Γ) τ

F

−Γγ

c

]

×

__

Γ

2

−4 Γ + 3

_

τ

F

2

+

_

−4 Γγ

c

+ 2 Γ

2

γ

c

_

τ

F

+ Γ

2

γ

c

2

+δ

2

¸

×

__

2 Γ

4

+ 5 −12 Γ

3

+ 23 Γ

2

−18 Γ

_

τ

F

4

+

_

46 Γ

2

γ

c

+ 8 Γ

4

γ

c

−36 γ

c

Γ

3

−18 Γγ

c

_

τ

F

3

+

_

3 δ

2

Γ

2

−8 Γ + 23 Γ

2

γ

c

2

+ 3 δ

2

+ 12 Γ

4

γ

c

2

−36 Γ

3

γ

c

2

+ 6 + 2 Γ

2

−6 Γδ

2

_

τ

F

2

+ Γγ

c

_

6 Γδ

2

−12 Γ

2

γ

c

2

+ 8 Γ

3

γ

c

2

−8 + 4 Γ −6δ

2

_

τ

F

+2 Γ

2

γ

c

2

+ 2 Γ

4

γ

c

4

+ 3 Γ

2

γ

c

2

δ

2

+ 2 δ

2

¸

−1

(51)

c

3

=

_

2

_

Γ

2

−4 Γ + 3

_

τ

F

2

+ 2

_

−4 Γγ

c

+ 2 Γ

2

γ

c

_

τ

F

+ 2 Γ

2

γ

2

2

+ 2 δ

2

¸

×

__

2 Γ

3

−9 + 17 Γ −10 Γ

2

_

τ

F

2

+ Γγ

2

_

10 −12 Γ + 4Γ

2

_

τ

F

−3 δ

2

−2 Γ

2

γ

c

2

+ 2 Γ

3

γ

c

2

+ Γδ

2

¸

×

_

(Γ −1)

3

τ

F

3

+ 3 Γγ

c

(Γ −1)

2

τ

F

2

+ 3 Γ

2

γ

c

2

(Γ −1) τ

F

+ Γ

3

γ

c

3

_

[(Γ −2) τ

F

+ Γγ

c

]

×

__

2 Γ

4

+ 5 −12 Γ

3

+ 23 Γ

2

−18 Γ

_

τ

F

4

+

_

46 Γ

2

γ

c

+ 8 Γ

4

γ

c

−36 γ

c

Γ

3

−18 Γγ

c

_

τ

F

3

+

_

3 δ

2

Γ

2

−8 Γ + 23 Γ

2

γ

c

2

+ 3 δ

2

+ 12 Γ

4

γ

c

2

−36 Γ

3

γ

c

2

+ 6 + 2 Γ

2

−6 Γδ

2

_

τ

F

2

+ Γγ

2

_

6 Γδ

2

−12 Γ

2

γ

c

2

+ 8 Γ

3

γ

c

2

−8 + 4 Γ −6δ

2

_

τ

F

+2 Γ

2

γ

c

2

+ 2 Γ

4

γ

c

4

+ 3 Γ

2

γ

c

2

δ

2

+ 2 δ

2

¸

−1

(52)

14

0.26

0.265

0.27

0.275

0.28

0.285

2

4 6 8

10

γ

γ

3

γ

2

γ

1

N

Figure 4: The primary, secondary and tertiary bifurcation as a function of the parameters for N = 2

to 10 with Γ = 3/4, φ = 1/10

where γ

c

= γ

H

(γ

2

), that is the critical value of the helical ribbon twist (as given by (39) with γ

S

= γ

2

)

at which the helix becomes unstable with respect to the ﬁrst unstable mode n = 1.

All the parameters involve in the coeﬃcients of the amplitude equation depends on the control

parameter γ

S

. The stationary solution of (50) B

2

stat

= c

1

/c

3

gives a relation between the amplitude

and the initial twist density.

6 Tertiary bifurcation

The eﬀect of the instability is to locate the perturbation at one point of the rod (chosen here to be

the middle point). Eventually, as the amplitude B is varied, a critical point is reached where the

projection of the solution in the x − y plane becomes multivalued. The situation is schematically

depicted on Fig. 1.d. The critical point at which the loop becomes perpendicular to the x-axis is a

new bifurcation point where the loop is about to ﬂip over on itself. The critical value of the amplitude

B

c

at which the loop centered at s = s

c

will ﬂip corresponds to the condition:

x

1

(s

c

; B

c

) = 0, x

1

(s

c

; B

c

) = 0, (53)

This “ﬂipping” condition is somewhat similar to the one used in Coyne’s analysis (Coyne, 1990) of

the static Kirchhoﬀ model with the main diﬀerence that the parameter used to characterize the

Flipping in Coyne’s paper is the end displacements. The ﬂipping condition (53) can be solved

analytically using the second order solution. However, the explicit form is too involved to be useful

and is not given here.

It is now possible to ﬁnd the value of the tertiary bifurcation by ﬁnding the value of γ

S

= γ

3

such

that B

stat

= B

c

. A plot of the sequence of bifurcation is shown on Fig. 4 for diﬀerent values of N.

Fig. 5 shows the ﬁlament as γ

3

is varied.

15

γ

i

n

c

r

e

a

s

e

s

a

b

c

d

e

f

g

Figure 5: A sequence of helical ﬁlaments for varying values of γ

S

, a) γ

S

< γ

1

, b) γ

1

< γ

S

< γ

2

, c)

γ

2

< γ

S

> γ

3

, d) γ

S

= γ

3

, e) γ

S

> γ

3

. The parameters are Γ = 3/4, φ = 1/10, N = 5, γ

1

= 0.2667,

γ

2

= 0, 2684, γ

3

= 0.27376,and γ

S

= γ

2

+µ with µ ×10

3

=0.1, 1.5, 3, 4.9, 5.36, 5.4.

16

7 Discussion and conclusions

7.1 The dynamical picture

In the previous section, we studied the looping process as a sequence of bifurcations as the control

parameter is varied from γ

S

< γ

1

to γ

S

> γ

3

. This sequence of conﬁgurations can be obtained by

considering that the system attains its stationary state for every small change of the control parameter.

In order to obtain these conﬁgurations we rely on two assumptions: First, that in a real system, the

presence of damping will allow the system to relax in time (otherwise, none of the stationary solution

could be obtained as the system is conservative). Second, that the change in the control parameter

occurs on a much smaller time scale than the relaxation time; thereby giving rise to a sequence of

quasi-stationary conﬁguration. However, these assumptions are not necessary for the basic phenomena

of looping. Indeed, we chose to present the sequence of bifurcations as quasi-stationary for the sake of

simplicity. The real problem of looping consists in bringing a system to a region of instability where

looping takes place, that is (in our setting) by suddenly varying the twist density of a stable straight

rod to a value γ

S

> γ

3

. Then, the dynamics of the system will directly take the system from a straight

rod to a loop without passing through the intermediary steps (this situation is actually closer to the

everyday experience of playing with telephone chords). The sequence of conﬁgurations of Fig. 5 can

then be seen as a dynamical sequence.

In this analysis, we have used the twist density as a control parameter. This is only one of the

possible choices. We could have used, equivalently, the tension (think of suddenly decreasing the

tension at the end of a straight twisted rod to produce the same dynamics) or the intrinsic twist

density. This last choice might be relevant to some problems occurring in biology where ﬁlaments

may grow with no twist but a large intrinsic twist deﬁcit: eﬀectively creating a twist density resulting

in the formation of a loop (for a remarkable example of this biological phenomena in the growth of

bacterial ﬁlament, see (Mendelson, 1978; Mendelson, 1990)). In any cases, the dynamics obtained by

using diﬀerent parameters as control parameters are equivalent and it is likely that in any real system

changes in all parameters will actually occur simultaneously.

7.2 Why do loops forms at the middle of the rod?

One commonly observes that the loops created by twisting the ends of a rod usually form in the middle

of the rod. This is due to the choice of boundary conditions. Indeed for the sake of simplicity we have

consider that the ends are ﬁxed in space but the tangents are free. Doing so, all the points of the

strings are actually equivalent and the loop can form at any point. However, a simple argument can

show why loops form at the middle for diﬀerent boundary conditions. If the ends are held clamped

(that is the tangents at the ends are constrained along the axis), the ﬁrst bifurcation does not lead

to a helix but rather (as shown in (Goriely & Tabor, 1997b)) to a helix modulated by a envelope-like

shape (so that the radius of the modulated helix goes to zero at the ends). The maximal amplitude

of this solution is reached at the middle. We have seen here that the secondary instability is triggered

by increasing the radius of the helix (controlled by the initial twist density). Therefore, the secondary

instability for a twisted rods with clamped ends will be ﬁrst triggered at the middle of the string

where the amplitude of the deformation is maximal.

7.3 Conclusions

We have now completed our picture of the looping as a dynamical process: a phenomena triggered

by a sequence of instabilities for diﬀerent conﬁgurations of the ﬁlament. The ﬁrst bifurcation occurs

when a pulled, twisted straight rod becomes unstable. The linear analysis predicts that it deforms to

a helix. The radius of such a helix can be computed via a nonlinear analysis (Goriely & Tabor, 1996;

Goriely & Tabor, 1997b) while its twist density can be obtained by energetics consideration. The

important feature of the bifurcated solution is that it is an exact solution of the model. Therefore,

its stability can be easily studied by the same method used to study the stability of the straight rod.

The linear stability of the helix shows that it rapidly becomes unstable, given rise to a secondary

bifurcation. Moreover, the instability tends to localize the deformation of the rod at one point. The

amplitude of this localization can be obtained by performing a one-mode amplitude expansion. This

nonlinear analysis provides a relationship between the amplitude of the deformation and the control

17

parameters. The tertiary bifurcation is reached when a loop is formed at the middle and looping takes

place.

The dynamical mechanism proposed here diﬀers in many respects from previous analysis and

exploits a series of results on the linear and nonlinear stability of ﬁlaments. These techniques are

quite general and should be applicable to other problems involving dynamical changes in form.

Acknowledgments This work is supported by DOE grant DE-FG03-93-ER25174 and Flinn

Foundation’s Biomathematics and Dynamics Initiative program (ID#048-1000206-94).

References

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twisted rod equations. Proc. Roy. Soc. London A, 452, 2467–2491.

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localisation after one-twist-per-wave equilibria in twisted rod circular rods with initial curvature.

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18

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