Authors: Robert A.J. Matthews
Comments: 2 Pages.
We describe an empirical study of the formation of knots in open and closed self-avoiding walks
(SAWs), based on a simple model involving randomly agitated cords. The results suggest that
the probability of a closed SAW remaining knot-free follows a similar scaling law to that for
open-ended SAWs. In particular, the process of closing a given SAW prior to random agitation
substantially increases the probability that it will be knot-free following agitation. The results
point to a remedy for the well-known problem of tangling of cord, rope, headphone cables etc.
The simple act of connecting the two free ends to each other, thus creating a loop, greatly
reduces the risk of such tangling. Other implications, in particular for DNA storage in cells, are
Category: Condensed Matter