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. Nontrivial knots of one-dimensional objects only exist in three spatial dimensions, which may explain why our universe has three dimensions.
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.
Older Windows-only Python software that uses a webcam to measure and plot the radius of gyration of a beaded chain in real time, written by students Jamie Woodbury and Anselm Hui: RealTime_ROG.zip. This is Python 2 legacy code that has not yet been updated to work in Python 3, so a Python 2.7 installation is needed. (If using Anaconda Python, it is easy to switch between Python 2 and Python 3.)
Older MatLab software written by student Nikita Reznik
to measure the radius of gyration of a reflective chain as it
lies on a black background.