Coiling of elastic ropes

M. Habibi*, N.M. Ribe, Daniel Bonn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154302
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


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