The effect of surface tension on thin elastic rods
A recent experiment by Mora et al. showed that surface tension can cause a thin elastic rod to spontaneously bend when immersed in a fluid [PRL 111, 114301]. This experiment is remarkable in that it defies common intuition: the typical examples of large deformations caused by surface tension involve objects floating on the surface of a fluid, and the deformations are driven by a difference in surface tension between the two sides of the object. We use nonlinear elasticity and dimension reduction to derive an equation for the energy of a thin rod with surface tension, correctly predicting which rods bent when immersed in fluid and which rods did not.
Password: “arizona” (all lower case)