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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Oct 12;99(15):154302. Epub 2007 Oct 11.

Coiling of elastic ropes.

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Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences, Zanjan 45195-1159, Iran.


A rope falling onto a solid surface typically forms a series of regular coils. Here, we study this phenomenon using laboratory experiments (with cotton threads and softened spaghetti) and an asymptotic "slender-rope" numerical model. The excellent agreement between the two with no adjustable parameters allows us to determine a complete phase diagram for elastic coiling comprising three basic regimes involving different force balances (elastic, gravitational, and inertial) together with resonant "whirling string" and "whirling shaft" eigenmodes in the inertial regime.

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