Twist and Stretch of Helices Explained via the Kirchhoff-Love Rod Model of Elastic Filaments

Bojan Đuričković, Alain Goriely, John H. Maddocks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In various single-molecule experiments, a chiral polymer, such as DNA, is simultaneously pulled and twisted. We address an elementary but fundamental question raised by various authors: does the molecule overwind or unwind under tension? We show that within the context of the classic Kirchhoff-Love rod model of elastic filaments, both behaviors are possible, depending on the precise constitutive relations of the polymer. More generally, our analysis provides an effective linear response theory for helical structures that relates axial force and axial torque to axial translation and rotation. © 2013 American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 5 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUK-C1-013-04
Acknowledgements: This publication is based in part upon work supported by Grant No. KUK-C1-013-04, made by (KAUST), and by the U.S. NSF under Grant No. DMS-0907773 (B. D.). A. G. acknowledges support from a Reintegration Grant under EC Framework VII. The work of J. H. M. was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation under Grants No. 200021-126666/1&2 and No. 200020-143613.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Twist and Stretch of Helices Explained via the Kirchhoff-Love Rod Model of Elastic Filaments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this