- make a knot out of a piece of rope
- take a second piece of rope and pass it through at least one of the loops of the first knot
- make a knot out of that second piece of rope

When you make a link, you can use as many pieces of rope as you like, adding a new knot to the link each time you add another piece of rope.

In order to turn a link into two or more separate (un-linked) knots, you have to cut the rope. The number of times you would have to cut the rope to do this is called the
**link number**. The ** link number ** can be thought of as a measure of how "linked up" the knots are.

When a braid is built from a series of components, the way that the ends are joined determines whether the resulting braid is a knot or a link. What determines the link number?

Every knot is a closed circular braid. Is every link a nice orderly pile of closed circular braids?