The Möbius strip or Möbius band (or /ˈmoʊbiəs/ in English, ˈmøːbiʊs in German) (alternatively written Mobius or Moebius in English) is a surface with only one side and only one boundary component. It has the mathematical property of being non-orientable. It is also a ruled surface. It was discovered independently by the German mathematicians August Ferdinand Möbius and Johann Benedict Listing in 1858.
A model can easily be created by taking a paper strip and giving it a half-twist, and then joining the ends of the strip together to form a single strip. In Euclidean space there are in fact two types of Möbius strips depending on the direction of the half-twist: clockwise and counterclockwise. The Möbius strip is therefore chiral, which is to say that it has "handedness" (as in right-handed or left-handed).
It is straightforward to find algebraic equations the solutions of which have the topology of a Möbius strip, but in general these equations do not describe the same geometric shape that one gets from the twisted paper model described above. In particular, the twisted paper model is a developable surface (it has zero Gaussian curvature). A system of differential-algebraic equations that describes models of this type was published in 2007 together with its numerical solution.
The Euler characteristic of the Möbius strip is zero.
Cutting a Möbius strip along the center line yields one long strip with two full twists in it, rather than two separate strips; the result is not a Möbius strip. This happens because the original strip only has one edge which is twice as long as the original strip of paper. Cutting creates a second independent edge, half of which was on each side of the knife or scissors. Cutting this new, longer, strip down the middle creates two strips wound around each other.
If the strip is cut along about a third of the way in from the edge, it creates two strips: One is a thinner Möbius strip - it is the center third of the original strip. The other is a long strip with two full twists in it - this is a neighborhood of the edge of the original strip.
Other analogous strips can be obtained by similarly joining strips with two or more half-twists in them instead of one. For example, a strip with three half-twists, when divided lengthwise, becomes a strip tied in a trefoil knot. Cutting a Möbius strip, giving it extra twists, and reconnecting the ends produces unexpected figures called paradromic rings.
One way to represent the Möbius strip as a subset of R3 is using the parametrization:
where 0 ≤ u < 2π and −1 ≤ v ≤ 1. This creates a Möbius strip of width 1 whose center circle has radius 1, lies in the xy plane and is centered at The parameter u runs around the strip while v moves from one edge to the other.
In cylindrical polar coordinates (r, θ, z), an unbounded version of the Möbius strip can be represented by the equation:
The Möbius strip is a two-dimensional compact manifold (i.e. a surface) with boundary. It is a standard example of a surface which is not orientable. The Möbius strip is also a standard example used to illustrate the mathematical concept of a fiber bundle. Specifically, it is a nontrivial bundle over the circle S1 with a fiber the unit interval, I = [0,1]. Looking only at the edge of the Möbius strip gives a nontrivial two point (or Z2) bundle over S1.
A simple construction of the Möbius strip which can be used to portray it in computer graphics or modeling packages is as follows :
To see this, first consider such an embedding into the 3-sphere S3 regarded as a subset of R4. A parametrization for this embedding is given by
To obtain an embedding of the Möbius strip in R3 one maps S3 to R3 via a stereographic projection. The projection point can be any point on S3 which does not lie on the embedded Möbius strip (this rules out all the usual projection points). Stereographic projections map circles to circles and will preserve the circular boundary of the strip. The result is a smooth embedding of the Möbius strip into R3 with a circular edge and no self-intersections.
Another closely related manifold is the real projective plane. If a circular disk is cut out of the real projective plane, what is left is a Möbius strip. Going in the other direction, if one glues a disk to a Möbius strip by identifying their boundaries, the result is the projective plane. In order to visualize this, it is helpful to deform the Möbius strip so that its boundary is an ordinary circle (see above). The real projective plane, like the Klein bottle, cannot be embedded in three-dimensions without self-intersections.
There have been technical applications. Giant Möbius strips have been used as conveyor belts that last longer because the entire surface area of the belt gets the same amount of wear, and as continuous-loop recording tapes (to double the playing time). Möbius strips are common in the manufacture of fabric computer printer and typewriter ribbons, as they allow the ribbon to be twice as wide as the print head while using both half-edges evenly.
A device called a Möbius resistor is an electronic circuit element which has the property of canceling its own inductive reactance. Nikola Tesla patented similar technology in the early 1900s: "Coil for Electro Magnets" was intended for use with his system of global transmission of electricity without wires.