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Elastica is a software to simulate the dynamics of filaments that, at every cross-section, can undergo all six possible modes of deformation, allowing the filament to bend, twist, stretch and shear, while interacting with complex environments via muscular activity, surface contact, friction and hydrodynamics.

Project description


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PyElastica is the python implementation of Elastica: an open-source project for simulating assemblies of slender, one-dimensional structures using Cosserat Rod theory.


Visit for more information and learn about Elastica and Cosserat rod theory.


PyPI version

PyElastica is compatible with Python 3.6 - 3.8. The easiest way to install PyElastica is with PIP.

$ pip install pyelastica 


Documentation Status

Documentation of PyElastica is available here



We have created several Jupyter notebooks and Python scripts to help users get started with PyElastica. The Jupyter notebooks are available on Binder, allowing you to try out some of the tutorials without having to install PyElastica.

We have also included an example script for visualizing PyElastica simulations using POVray. This script is located in the examples folder (examples/visualization).


If you would like to participate, please read our contribution guideline

PyElastica is developed by the Gazzola Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

List of publications and submissions


We ask that any publications which use Elastica cite the following papers:

Overall and for single rods:
Gazzola, Dudte, McCormick, Mahadevan, Forward and inverse problems in the mechanics of soft filaments, Royal Society Open Science, 2018. doi: 10.1098/rsos.171628

  title={Forward and inverse problems in the mechanics of soft filaments},
  author={Gazzola, M and Dudte, LH and McCormick, AG and Mahadevan, L},
  journal={Royal Society open science},
  publisher={The Royal Society Publishing},
  doi = {10.1098/rsos.171628},
  url = {},

For assemblies of rods:
Zhang, Chan, Parthasarathy, Gazzola, Modeling and simulation of complex dynamic musculoskeletal architectures, Nature Communications, 2019. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12759-5

  title={Modeling and simulation of complex dynamic musculoskeletal architectures},
  author={Zhang, X and Chan, FK and Parthasarathy, T and Gazzola, M},
  journal={Nature Communications},
  publisher={Nature Publishing Group},
  doi = {10.1038/s41467-019-12759-5},
  url = {},

For control of soft robots:
Naughton, Sun, Tekinalp, Parthasarathy, Chowdhary and Gazzola, Elastica: A compliant mechanics environment for soft robotic control, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 2021. doi: 10.1109/LRA.2021.3063698

  author={Naughton, N and Sun, J and Tekinalp, A and Parthasarathy, T and Chowdhary, G and Gazzola, M},
  journal={IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters}, 
  title={Elastica: A compliant mechanics environment for soft robotic control}, 

Senior Developers ✨

Names arranged alphabetically

  • Arman Tekinalp
  • Chia-Hsien Shih (Cathy)
  • Fan Kiat Chan
  • Noel Naughton
  • Seung Hyun Kim
  • Tejaswin Parthasarathy (Teja)
  • Yashraj Bhosale (Yash)

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