Remember when Teacher said you’d use math for . . . everything? Teacher wasn’t wrong. Even knots involve math. Scouts, sailors, and rock climbers know firsthand that some knots are stronger than others. Now mathematics experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have figured out why.

Jörn Dunkel is an associate professor of mathematics at MIT. He and engineering associate professor Mathias Kolle helped develope a knot model. Their model predicts how strong different knots will be. Kolle says usage has long shown people which knots are best. It’s just that “now the model shows why.”

Back in 2018, Kolle helped develop fibers that change color when stretched or pulled, especially at the greatest stress or pressure points.

Kolle’s color-changing fibers got Dunkel wondering, *Why not knots?* Maybe not exactly, but he did begin thinking that perhaps those strands could be helpful in the study of knot stability, or strength.

You see, knots are serious business with math people. There’s even a branch of geometry known as “knot theory.” (Not knot kidding.)

Knot theory is the study of abstract knots with no ends. These “imaginary” knots form a continuous looping pattern. Mathematicians try to describe abstract knots in all the ways they can be twisted while keeping their knot shapes. (Not knot easy.)

The MIT knot model analyzes several knot features, like number of over/under crossings and how a rope twists when a knot gets tight. “These subtle differences . . . determine whether a knot is strong,” says Dunkel. “With this model, you should be able to look at two knots that are almost identical and be able to say which is the better one.”

Dunkel and Kolle and their doctoral students hoped to identify what makes a knot strong. They tied Kolle’s color-changing fibers into various knots and took pictures. They analyzed where, when, and how the fibers changed color—and how that reflected their strength.

From that information, the team made simple diagrams for the knots. Each drawing shows the pattern of the two strands in a knot before it’s tightened.

By comparing diagrams, researchers hit upon the basic strength features: crossings and twists. The reason has to do with rope-against-rope friction. The more crossings and twists, the more friction . . . and the more knot strength.

Kolle hopes his team’s knot model will help create the right knots for use in everything from medicine to manufacturing. “We can play knots against each other for uses in suturing, sailing, climbing, and construction. It’s wonderful.” (Not knot bad.)

## Math......

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 12:11| BYN&M. AYup. My teacher said: "you will use math for...everything "

This is interesting.

2[56(6)6]+45(2)= I'm tired of doing math!!!

I'm 1.346543×10¹² tired of mathematics.

## 1st comment

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 12:11| BYN&M. APs. 1st comment.

## @Nadia A

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 18:16| BYGloriana Byou in Algebra?

i am

## Cool! I think it has benefits

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 14:14| BYKiara JCool! I think it has benefits. I also think it could "knot" work. ;-)

## @ Gloriana

Thu, 03/05/2020 - 09:07| BYN&M. AI'm in pre-algebra. But I will start algebra next year? I think.

I'm in Saxon Math 7/8 if you know what that means. : )

## @NA

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 13:15| BYBethSarah GNext is Algebra 1/2 and then Algebra 1 as far as Saxon goes. I have heard 7/8 and 1/2 are very similar to the point that many skip 7/8.

## To Above

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 14:45| BYN&M. AOh. I think I'm on lesson 62 I have to do test 12 when I recover from this (horrible) gastroparesis. It's a pretty good math book, the lessons are very well taught. Do you use Saxon math?

## @NA

Sat, 03/07/2020 - 08:39| BYBethSarah GI use Abeka but most of my friends use Saxon.

## To Above

Sat, 03/07/2020 - 10:23| BYN&M. AOh. I have a friend who's school uses Abeka.

## Search box

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 11:21| BYN&M. ACan someone post a link to the search box? It doesn't show up on small screens so I can't search. : ( can someone?

Or I might.

## https://teen.wng.org/search

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 11:23| BYN&M. Ahttps://teen.wng.org/search/node

## @ Everybody above

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 14:52| BYKiara JI like math. Also I use Christian Light Education for math, reading and science. I also use Abeka for language and next year I'll do Abeka online.

## @ Everybody above

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 14:53| BYKiara JI like math. Also I use Christian Light Education for math, reading and science. I also use Abeka for language and next year I'll do Abeka online.

## Oh-No!

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 14:54| BYKiara JI posted twice! Oops.

## OWEN

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 08:36| BYJ&O Si well kinda hate math and yes im in algebra but i hate it, and i found that it is used every where you can't escape it (⊙_⊙;) no but, i think its not my favorite subject .

X= 2[4(f4-1)]squared 2

## As much as I don't like math

Fri, 03/13/2020 - 10:52| BYI BAs much as I don't like math this is pretty cool

## to all above

Fri, 03/13/2020 - 20:56| BYDrew Sokay guys,knot funny,knot funny AT ALL!!!!!!!!!! :-> ;-) :-D :-}

## confusing!

Sat, 03/14/2020 - 17:23| BYParker Sthere were to many homophones in that article. I couldn't understand it

## To Above

Mon, 03/16/2020 - 11:47| BYN&M. AHaha, I just noticed! Not knot funny.

## I think that it is cool that

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 09:35| BYA NI think that it is cool that they figured out how to make a rope that shows its weak points. We don't want someone thinking that a kind of knot that is weak is strong! That would be bad, It is amazing the kind of technology people have come up with, I mean a rope that changes color when stretches to reveal parts that could be weak that is pretty cool if you ask me!

## So cool!

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 19:55| BYBethany HI've done a couple workshops at MIT for kids! it's so cool they can do that through color

## P.S. MATH IS OKAY.

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 17:45| BYEliana CThat is so cool! I would love to try that thing out. Did you see the fifth pic? I couldn't decipher it at all!

## Goodness gracious!

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 11:51| BYEilise WThat last pic was sooooooooooooo confusing!! I bet my dad could figure it out.

He is good with knots. But it is knot as easy as it seems.

00

•

## @BG

Fri, 04/10/2020 - 07:58| BYMichael PI am on Saxon Algebra 2 lesson 3 problem set 3 number 22. One word about it... it's hard (oh wait, that's two!)

## Math . . . okay

Mon, 04/13/2020 - 14:06| BYCortney KI'm in Algebra 1 in Saxon Math for all the home-schoolers out there. I just finished Lesson 104.

## SO COOL

Mon, 04/20/2020 - 13:09| BYRiley DI am learning how to tie different knots for a competition. It is so true that the more rope-to-rope friction, the more wraps and twists, makes it much, much stronger.

## Math...... (-_-)

Tue, 04/21/2020 - 03:02| BYSarah &(^_^)

## Math...... (-_-)

Tue, 04/21/2020 - 03:03| BYSarah &(^_^)

## Ummm.....

Tue, 04/21/2020 - 13:39| BYKeenan Bthis is cool.....

## Math......Cool!

Tue, 04/21/2020 - 13:41| BYKeenan B(^_^)

## @ Cortney K

Tue, 04/21/2020 - 13:44| BYKeenan Bi will be doing Saxon Math next year.(i don't know what kind)

## Math

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 14:46| BYKNI'm doing AoPS Prealgebra. Section 6.2

I love math!!!!