Ideal geometry of periodic entanglements

Myfanwy E. Evans*, Vanessa Robins, Stephen T. Hyde

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Three-dimensional entanglements, including knots, knotted graphs, periodic arrays of woven filaments and interpenetrating nets, form an integral part of structure analysis because they influence various physical properties. Ideal embeddings of these entanglements give insight into identification and classification of the geometry and physically relevant configurations in vivo. This paper introduces an algorithm for the tightening of finite, periodic and branched entanglements to a least energy form. Our algorithm draws inspiration from the Shrink-On-No-Overlaps (SONO) (Pieranski 1998 In Ideal knots (eds A Stasiak, V Katritch, LH Kauffman), vol. 19, pp. 20-41.) algorithm for the tightening of knots and links: we call it Periodic-Branched Shrink-On-No-Overlaps (PB-SONO). We reproduce published results for ideal configurations of knots using PB-SONO. We then examine ideal geometry for finite entangled graphs, including è-graphs and entangled tetrahedron- and cube-graphs. Finally, we compute ideal conformations of periodic weavings and entangled nets. The resulting ideal geometry is intriguing: we see spontaneous symmetrisation in some cases, breaking of symmetry in others, as well as configurations reminiscent of biological and chemical structures in nature.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20150254
    JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
    Issue number2181
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2015


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