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The Shoelace Catastrophe

oliver oreilly's picture

Readers of this site might be interested in the following paper appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society and has received considerable attention in the media:

The roles of impact and inertia in the failure of a shoelace knot

The paper discusses a mechanism for the the accidental untying of a shoelace knot that many of us, including me, experience on a daily basis. The failure is sudden and catastropic as can be seen in the following video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-aiynIphTw

and news article

http://abc7news.com/science/uc-berkeley-study-shows-why-shoelaces-come-untied/1862327/

We hope the work inspires further works on the topic of physical knots.

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