On the Structure of 3-connected Matroids and Graphs
An element e of a 3-connected matroid M is essential if neither the deletion M\e nor the contraction M/e is 3-connected. Tutte's Wheels and Whirls Theorem proves that the only 3-connected matroids in which every element is essential are the wheels and whirls. In this paper, we consider those 3-connected matroids that have some non-essential elements, showing that every such matroid M must have at least two such elements. We prove that the essential elements of M can be partitioned into classes where two elements are in the same class if M has a fan, a maximal partial wheel, containing both. We also prove that if an essential element e of M is in more than one fan, then that fan has three or five elements; in the latter case, e is in exactly three fans. Moreover, we show that if M has a fan with 2k or 2k + 1 elements for some k ≥ 2, then M can be obtained by sticking together a (k + 1)-spoked wheel and a certain 3-connected minor of M. The results proved here will be used elsewhere to completely determine all 3-connected matroids with exactly two non-essential elements. © 2000 Academic Press.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
European Journal of Combinatorics
Oxley, J., & Wu, H. (2000). On the Structure of 3-connected Matroids and Graphs. European Journal of Combinatorics, 21 (5), 667-688. https://doi.org/10.1006/eujc.2000.0407