Curve-straightening in Riemannian manifolds. (English) Zbl 0653.53032

This paper deals with the bending energy of an immersed curve. In a previous paper [Topology 24, 75-88 (1985; Zbl 0561.53004)] the authors studied elastic curves as critical points of the functional \(\int (k\quad 2+\lambda)ds\) where k is the curvature and \(\lambda\) is a real number. Here they study the possibility of a “flow of steepest descent” for this functional including a so-called “strengthened” Palais-Smale condition. The particular case of curves in the standard two-sphere is examined in detail, and for certain values of \(\lambda\) the stability of the critical points is analyzed. Here the values \(\lambda =8/7\) and \(\lambda =10/9\) for the sphere of radius 1 play a particular role. From the paper: “The transition between behavior for small values of \(\lambda\) and large ones is somewhat mysterious at present.”
Reviewer: W.Kühnel


53C40 Global submanifolds
58E10 Variational problems in applications to the theory of geodesics (problems in one independent variable)
58E05 Abstract critical point theory (Morse theory, Lyusternik-Shnirel’man theory, etc.) in infinite-dimensional spaces


Zbl 0561.53004
Full Text: DOI


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