A new study went to find the reason behind a common, everyday occurrence, shoelaces coming undone. No matter the force, type, or strength of a knot, this event takes place due to a mix of “stomping and whipping” forces.
This research was carried out by University of California, Berkeley scientists. They published a paper with their results in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A journal. Christine Gregg, a study co-author who is also a runner, contributed with the physical aspect of the research as well.
She donned her running shoes and got on the treadmill as the rest of the team filmed her footwear. This footage was then analyzed as it was played in slow motion. Which helped the research team determine as follows. The shoelaces get exposed to a mix of “stomping and whipping forces”. These seem to have the same effect as a hand as they start loosening the knot. Then, they also pull the laces until they start unraveling the knot.
This Study On Shoelaces Can Reportedly Help Other Areas As Well
“When you talk about knotted structures, if you can start to understand the shoelace, then you can apply it to other things, like DNA or microstructures.”
According to reports, these can also “fail” under the effect of dynamic forces. This was stated by Christopher Daily-Diamond, a Berkeley graduate, also a study co-author. She also stated that this study could be a first step towards further research.
For example, the team also analyzed why some knots are ‘better than others’. They tested so-called “weak” versus “strong” knots. As it is, the study showed that both of them would eventually come undone. However, this will most likely take place at different points in time. The team also varied its study, for example by adding weights to the aglets. Still, more research on the matter will be needed to determine “all the involved variables”.
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