How strong is your knot?

  • #1
jim mcnamara
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TL;DR Summary
In sailing, rock climbing, construction, and any activity requiring the securing of ropes, certain knots are known to be stronger than others. Any seasoned sailor knows, for instance, that one type of knot will secure a sheet to a headsail, while another is better for hitching a boat to a piling.

But what exactly makes one knot more stable than another has not been well-understood, until now.


(two minute audio)
It presents the use of basic knot theory and a new kind of fiber that shows tension by changing color. Suitable for almost any listener.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Tom.G
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Text version of the 'Knotty Problem' (above) is at:
 
  • #4
davenn
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I see you were beaten to the topic ...

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/knot-theory-and-practical-use-of-knots.982629/
 
  • #5
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When dealing with knots sometimes the strain is too much and sometimes you just can-knot win.
 
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  • #6
anorlunda
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Thanks for sharing. That is indeed an interesting article.

Sailors do indeed have a favorite knot for each application. They also know that knot strength is usually bout the decider. Many knots may be strong enough for the application, but the favorites are easier to tie and untie.

But it looks to me that MIT analysis technique could be extended to predict tie untie ease. Hopefully we'll see that in the near future.
 
  • #7
Klystron
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I often tie temporary knots that must hold tight but be easy to untie; elastic bands into loops for exercise, for instance. As a child I learned a simple mnemonic to tie a square knot and avoid the troublesome granny:
Left over right then right over left.
 
  • #8
gmax137
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the rabbit comes out of the hole, goes 'round the tree, and back down the hole...
 
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