Physicists untangle the geometry of rope | Science News

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Physicists untangle the geometry of rope

Twine, string, cord or cable, it all winds up the same way

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4:39pm, April 13, 2010

Researchers have unraveled the mathematics that keeps ropes from unwinding.

The trick lies in the number of times each strand in a rope is twisted, say Jakob Bohr and Kasper Olsen, physicists at the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby. Their paper was posted online April 6 at arXiv.org.

In a traditional rope, each individual strand is twisted as much as possible in one direction. The twisted strands are then wound together in a spiral shape called a helix, whi

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