Surface Constrained Elastic Rods with Application to the Sphere

A. Huynen, E. Detournay, V. Denoël

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The unilateral contact between an elastic rod and a rigid surface is encountered in numerous biological and engineering applications. Along continuous contacts, the centerline of the rod reflects the geometry of the constraining surface. This restriction of the rod axis to surface bound configurations enters its local equilibrium through a reaction pressure which ensures the compatibility between the deformation and the restraint geometry. The classic equations governing the static equilibrium of elastic rods are particularized to surface bound configurations by (i) specifying the location of the rod axis in terms of its coordinates in the parameter space associated with the constraining surface parameterization, and (ii) characterizing the orientation of its material frame through its rotation with respect to the surface normal. This formulation, which emphasizes the relations between the rod configuration and the geometry of the constraint, also leads to an expression for the reaction pressure. This approach is then validated on a spherical surface by comparing with known solutions for elastic curves, i.e., inextensible and twist free rods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-223
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Elasticity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Continuous contact
  • Elastic rod
  • Sphere
  • Surface constraint


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