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Wrinkles, spaghetti & knots

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DNM - The mathematical design of new materials

Buckling, twisting and fracture are ubiquitous phenomena that, despite
having been studied for centuries, still pose many interesting conceptual and
practical challenges. In this talk, I will summarize our recent theoretical and
experimental work that aims to understand the role of curvature and torsion
in wrinkle pattern selection, fragmentation cascades and knots. First, we will
show how changes in curvature can induce phase transitions and topological
defects in the wrinkling patterns on curved elastic surfaces. Thereafter, we will
revisit an observation by Feynman who noted that dry spaghetti appears to
fragment into at least three (but hardly ever two) pieces when placed under
large bending stresses. Using a combination of experiments, simulations and
analytical scaling arguments, we will demonstrate how twist can be used to
control binary fracture of brittle elastic rods. Finally, in the last part, we will try to
shed some light on how topology and torsion affect the stability of commonly
used knots.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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