Advanced Undergraduate Laboratory

Department of Physics

University of Toronto

KNOT: Knots and topological transformations in vibrating chains

How knots tied in metal chains untie themselves when vibrated is way to study how important macromolecules such as polymers and DNA tangle and untangle. In this seemly simple experiment you will explore the challenging mechanics and thermodynamics of linear chains. The experiment is originally based on Knots and Random Walks in Vibrated Granular Chains, E. Ben-Naim et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 86 (2001) 1414.

Write-Up in PDF Format or Microsoft Word Format.

(The experiment is currently located in MP239; last write-up revision: September 2014.)

Additional resources:

Physics student, Myles Casey-Nestor, working on the Knots experiment in November 2011.

Last updated on 12 September 2014