*Published Paper*

**Inserted:** 16 oct 2017

**Last Updated:** 6 aug 2018

**Journal:** Geom. flows

**Volume:** 3

**Pages:** 105-124

**Year:** 2017

**Doi:** 10.1515/geofl- 2017- 0005

**Abstract:**

In this note we announce some results that will appear in $[6]$ on the minimization of the functional $F(\Gamma)=\int_\Gamma k^2+1\,\mathrm{d}s$, where $\Gamma$ is a network of three curves with fixed equal angles at the two junctions. The informal description of the results is accompanied by a partial review of the theory of elasticae and a diffuse discussion about the onset of interesting variants of the original problem passing from curves to networks. The considered energy functional $F$ is given by the elastic energy and a term that penalize the total length of the network. We will show that penalizing the length is tantamount to fix it. The paper is concluded with the explicit computation of the penalized elastic energy of the "Figure Eight", namely the unique closed elastica with self--intersections.

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