The virtual and universal braids
We study the structure of the virtual braid group. It is shown that the virtual braid group is a semi-direct product of the virtual pure braid group and the symmetric group. Also, it is shown that the virtual pure braid group is a semi-direct product of free groups. From these results we obtain a normal form of words in the virtual braid group. We introduce the concept of a universal braid group. This group contains the classical braid group and has as quotients the singular braid group, virtual braid group, welded braid group, and classical braid group.