H. Singh and J. A. Hanna
We revisit the classical problem of the planar Euler elastica with applied forces and moments, and present a classification of the shapes in terms of tangentially conserved quantities associated with spatial and material symmetries. We compare commonly used director, variational, and dynamical systems representations, and present several illustrative physical examples. We remark that an approach that employs only the shape equation for the tangential angle obscures physical information about the tension in the body.