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Working paper

Deformation of loops in 2D packing of flexible rods

arxiv.org. cond-mat. Cornell University, 2020. No. 2012.06944.
Sobral T. A., de Holanda V. H., Leal F. C., Teixeira S. T.
The injection of a long piece of flexible rod into a two-dimensional domain yields a complex pattern commonly studied through elasticity theory, packing analysis, and fractal geometries. "Loop" is an one-vertex entity which which is naturally formed in this system. The role of the elastic features of each individual loop in 2D packing has not yet been discussed. In this work we point out how the shape of a given loop in the complex structure allows to estimate local deformations and forces. First, we build sets of symmetric free loops and performed compression experiments. Then, tight packing configurations are analyzed by using image processing. We found that the dimensions of the loops, confined or not, obey the same dependence on the deformation. The result is consistent with a simple model based on 2D elastic theory for filaments, where the rod adopts the shape of Euler's elasticas between its contact points. The force and the stored energy are obtained from numerical integration of the analytic expressions. In an additional experiment, we obtain that the compression force for deformed loops corroborates the theoretical findings. The importance of the shape of the loop is discussed and we hope that the theoretical curves may allow statistical considerations in future investigations.