Volume 80, Number 5, December 2007
Article Number 54002
Number of page(s) 6
Section Electromagnetism, Optics, Acoustics, Heat Transfer, Classical Mechanics, and Fluid Dynamics
Published online 31 October 2007
EPL, 80 (2007) 54002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/80/54002

Folding of flexible rods confined in 2D space

Laurent Boué and Eytan Katzav

Laboratoire de Physique Statistique de l' École Normale Supérieure, CNRS UMR 8550 - 24 rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France

received 12 June 2007; accepted in final form 9 October 2007; published December 2007
published online 31 October 2007

We propose a statistical field theory to study the properties of elastic rods confined in 2D containers. Using a mean-field evaluation of the path integral, we show how a self-reorganization of the folding pattern between disordered and ordered configurations above a critical density leads to a more efficient packing. In addition, we predict the existence of a jamming transition for higher densities. The nature of this jamming transition is compared with similar observations in experiments on packing of flexible structures. The advantage of this approach is that it puts on an equal footing the geometrical features (such as self-avoidance) and the mechanical response to confinement.

46.32.+x - Static buckling and instability.
46.65.+g - Random phenomena and media.
45.70.Qj - Pattern formation.

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007