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Tuning the ordered states of folded rods by isotropic confinement

Abstract : The packing of elastic objects is increasingly studied in the framework of out-of-equilibrium statistical mechanics and thus these appear to be similar to glassy systems. Here, we present a two-dimensional experiment whereby a rod is confined by a parabolic potential. The setup enables spanning a wide range of folded configurations of the rod. Measurements of the distributions of length and curvature in the system reveal the importance of a stacking process whereby many layers of the rod are grouped into branches. The geometrical order of patterns increases with the confinement strength. Measurements of the distributions of energies lead to the definition of an energy scale that is correlated with the elastic energy of the stacked parts of the rod. This scale imposes energy partition in the system and might be relevant to the framework of the thermodynamics of disordered systems. Following these observations, we describe the patterns as excited states of a ground state corresponding to the most ordered geometry. Eventually, we provide evidence that the disordered state of a folded rod becomes spontaneously closer to the ground state as confinement is increased.
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Elsa Bayart, Arezki Boudaoud, Mohktar Adda-Bedia. Tuning the ordered states of folded rods by isotropic confinement. Physical Review E : Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, American Physical Society, 2014, 89 (1), ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.89.012407⟩. ⟨hal-02634872⟩



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