Article: article from journal or magazin.
Localization of breakage points in knotted strings
New Journal of Physics
It is a common macroscopic observation that knotted ropes or fishing lines under tension easily break at the knot. However, a more precise localization of the breakage point in knotted macroscopic strings is a difficult task. In the present work, the tightening of knots was numerically simulated, a comparison of strength of different knots was experimentally performed and a high velocity camera was used to precisely localize the site where knotted macroscopic strings break. In the case of knotted spaghetti, the breakage occurs at the position with high curvature at the entry to the knot. This localization results from joint contributions of loading, bending and friction forces into the complex process of knot breakage. The present simulations and experiments are in agreement with recent molecular dynamics simulations of a knotted polymer chain and with experiments performed on actin and DNA filaments. The strength of the knotted string is greatly reduced (down to 50%) by the presence of a knot, therefore reducing the resistance to tension of all materials containing chains of any sort. The present work with macroscopic strings revels some important aspects, which are not accessible by experiments with microscopic chains.
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