Solitary waves in an elastic string

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It is well known that a genuinely nonlinear straight string can support only trivial, constant stretch, traveling waves. We demonstrate that such a string preshaped into a rotating helix supports the propagation of subsonic solitons for any stress-strain relation. The properties of the resulting solitary wave depend on its sense of rotation versus the rotation of the free string as a rigid body. The cases of linear and quadratic stress-strain relations are considered explicitly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-42
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics Letters, Section A: General, Atomic and Solid State Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 1996


  • Soliton
  • String dynamics
  • Vector equations


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