Nonlinear dynamics of filaments

Alain Goriely, Michael Tabor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The Kirchhoff equations provide a well-established framework to study the statics and dynamics of thin elastic filaments. The study of static solutions to these equations has a long history and provides the basis for many investigations, both past and present, of the configurations taken by filaments subject to various external forces and boundary conditions. Here we review recently developed techniques involving linear and nonlinear analyses that enable one to study, in some detail, the actual dynamics of filament instabilities and the localized structures that can ensue. By introducing a novel arc-length preserving perturbation scheme a linear stability analysis can be performed which, in turn, leads to dispersion relations that provide the selection mechanism for the shape of an unstable filament. These dispersion relations provide the starting point for nonlinear analysis and the derivation of new amplitude equations which describe the filament dynamics above the instability threshold. Here we will mainly be concerned with the analysis of rods of circular cross-sections and survey the behavior of rings, rods, helices and show how these results lead to a complete dynamical description of filament buckling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-133
Number of pages33
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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