Planar equilibria of an elastic rod wrapped around a circular capstan

H. Singh

We present a study on planar equilibria of a terminally loaded elastic rod wrapped around a rigid circular capstan. Both frictionless and frictional contact between the rod and the capstan are considered. We identify three cases of frictionless contact – namely where the rod touches the capstan at one point, along a continuous arc, and at two points. We show that, in contrast to a fully flexible filament, an elastic rod of finite length wrapped around a capstan does not require friction to support unequal loads at its two ends. Furthermore, we classify rod equilibria corresponding to the three aforementioned cases in a limit where the length of the rod is much larger than the radius of the capstan. In the same limit, we incorporate frictional interaction between the rod and the capstan, and compute limiting equilibria of the rod. Our solution to the frictional case fully generalizes the classic capstan problem to include the effects of finite thickness and bending elasticity of a flexible filament wrapped around a circular capstan.

supplementary video

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