Thursday, June 6, 2013

1306.1014 (Dominic Vella et al.)

Magnetic chains: From self-buckling to self-assembly    [PDF]

Dominic Vella, Emmanuel du Pontavice, Cameron L. Hall, Alain Goriely
Spherical neodymium-iron-boron magnets are permanent magnets that can be assembled into structures due to their high magnetic strength. A one-dimensional chain of these magnets responds to mechanical loadings in a manner reminiscent of an elastic rod. We investigate the macroscopic mechanical properties of assemblies of ferromagnetic spheres by considering chains, rings, and chiral cylinders of magnets. Based on energy estimates and simple experiments, we introduce an effective magnetic bending stiffness for a chain of magnets and show that, used in conjunction with classical results for elastic rods, it provides excellent estimates for the buckling and vibration dynamics of magnetic chains. We then use this estimate to understand the dynamic self-assembly of a cylinder from an initially straight chain of magnets.
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