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How does a cable/ wire bend?

  1. Nov 4, 2012 #1
    Hi I have a cable that is fixed at 2 points, and I would like to model the curve that it bends as the two points move together and further away.

    In one scenario, the cable is fixed at both ends (one above the other) like a "C".
    In the other scenario, both ends are also fixed in clamps, but it is like an "S"

    Is there a formula to show what the curves might look like ({x,y} = z), given some stiffness or minimum bend radius? Is the "C" curve like a cosh

    or is there some software that might simulate this? do I need finite element analysis? or is there a simplified estimate?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 4, 2012 #2

    Simon Bridge

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  4. Nov 4, 2012 #3
    That brings back bad memories. Solved those equations for an assignment at uni. Although we had to derive the second order non linear equation for the rope, wish I knew the equation beforehand.
  5. Nov 6, 2012 #4
    Thanks for the replies.
    The website http://calculuslab.deltacollege.edu/...1/7-A-1-h.html was very helpful.

    However I would like to have it start off horizontal rather than hanging, and curve around and be clamped below horizontal as well, like a "C" shape.

    maybe in some ways it's more like compression than hanging.
  6. Nov 7, 2012 #5

    Simon Bridge

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    Well yes - cables don't generally hang like that... except if they are very stiff indeed. The approach is the same - the "C" would sag a little depending on the stiffness.
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