A Splitter Theorem for Elastic Elements in 3-Connected Matroids

  • George Drummond
  • Charles Semple


An element $e$ of a $3$-connected matroid $M$ is elastic if ${\rm si}(M/e)$, the simplification of $M/e$, and ${\rm co}(M\backslash e)$, the cosimplification of $M\backslash e$, are both $3$-connected. It was recently shown that if $|E(M)|\geq 4$, then $M$ has at least four elastic elements provided $M$ has no $4$-element fans and no member of a specific family of $3$-separators. In this paper, we extend this wheels-and-whirls type result to a splitter theorem, where the removal of elements is with respect to elasticity and keeping a specified $3$-connected minor. We also prove that if $M$ has exactly four elastic elements, then it has path-width three. Lastly, we resolve a question of Whittle and Williams, and show that past analogous results, where the removal of elements is relative to a fixed basis, are consequences of this work.

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