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15
votes
3answers
5k views

What exactly is a virtual displacement in classical mechanics?

I'm reading Goldstein's Classical Mechanics and he says the following: A virtual (infinitesimal) displacement of a system refers to a change in the configuration of the system as the result of any ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there examples in classical mechanics where D'Alembert's principle fails?

D'Alembert's principle suggests that the work done by the internal forces for a virtual displacement of a mechanical system in harmony with the constraints is zero. This is obviously true for the ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

Lagrangian of Schrodinger field

The usual Schrodinger Lagrangian is $$ \tag 1 i(\psi^{*}\partial_{t}\psi ) + \frac{1}{2m} \psi^{*}(\nabla^2)\psi, $$ which gives the correct equations of motion, with conjugate momentum for $\psi^{*}$ ...
10
votes
2answers
736 views

Virasoro constraints in quantization of the Polyakov action

The generators of the Virasoro algebra (actually two copies thereof) appear as constraints in the classical theory of the Polyakov action (after gauge fixing). However, when quantizing only "half" of ...
9
votes
4answers
330 views

What makes an equation an 'equation of motion'?

Every now and then, I find myself reading papers/text talking about how this equation is a constraint but that equation is an equation of motion which satisfies this constraint. For example, in the ...
9
votes
1answer
551 views

Relation between Dirac's generalized Hamiltonian dynamics method and path integral method to deal with constraints

What is the relation between path integral methods for dealing with constraints (constrained Hamiltonian dynamics involving non-singular Lagrangian) and Dirac's method of dealing with such systems ...
9
votes
1answer
486 views

How do I find constraints on the Nambu-Goto Action?

Let $X^\mu (t,\sigma ^1,\ldots ,\sigma ^p)$ be a $p$-brane in space-time and let $g$ be the metric on $X^\mu$ induced from the ambient space-time metric. Then, the Nambu-Goto action on $X^\mu$ is ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

D'Alembert's Principle: Necesssity of virtual displacements

Why is the D'Alembert's Principle $$\sum_{i} ( {F}_{i} - m_i \bf{a}_i )\cdot \delta \bf r_i = 0$$ stated in terms of "virtual" displacements instead of actual displacements? Why is it so necessary ...
7
votes
2answers
270 views

Why so many arguments for the transformation equations of generalized coordinates?

For a system of $N$ particles with $k$ holonomic constraints, their Cartesian coordinates are expressed in terms of generalized coordinates as $$\mathbf{r}_1 = \mathbf{r}_1(q_1, q_2,..., q_{3N-k}, ...
7
votes
2answers
784 views

Is there a Hamiltonian for the (classical) electromagnetic field? If so, how can it be derived from the Lagrangian?

The classical Lagrangian for the electromagnetic field is $$\mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{4\mu_0} F^{\mu \nu} F_{\mu \nu} - J^\mu A_\mu.$$ Is there also a Hamiltonian? If so, how to derive it? I know how ...
7
votes
1answer
165 views

Request for Reference: BRST formalism/transformations

Could anyone please suggest a very basic paper/reference/literature on BRST symmetry/formalism that requires rudimentary knowledge of Dirac's method for dealing with constrained systems and generation ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

When is the principle of virtual work valid?

The principle of virtual work says that forces of constraint don't do net work under virtual displacements that are consistent with constraints. Goldstein says something I don't understand. He says ...
7
votes
2answers
700 views

Constraints of massive relativistic point particle in Hamiltonian mechanics

I try to understand constructing of Hamiltonian mechanics with constraints. I decided to start with the simple case: free relativistic particle. I've constructed hamiltonian with constraint: ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

Degree of freedom paradox for a rigid body

Suppose we consider a rigid body, which has $N$ particles. Then the number of degrees of freedom is $3N - (\mbox{# of constraints})$. As the distance between any two points in a rigid body is fixed, ...
6
votes
2answers
589 views

From Lagrangian to Hamiltonian in Fermionic Model

While going from a given Lagrangian to Hamiltonian for a fermionic field, we use the following formula. $$ H = \Sigma_{i} \pi_i \dot{\phi_i} - L$$ where $\pi_i = \dfrac{\partial L}{\partial ...
6
votes
2answers
382 views

Mass particle trajectory on a sphere [closed]

So, I am trying to simulate mass particle motion on the outer surface of sphere using cartesian coordinates. Let's conclude just a gravity and frictionless movement. Sphere $x^2 + y^2 + z^2 = 1$, ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a systematic way to derive constraint equations?

There's this problem in Goldstein's (Classical Mechanics) derivations section: 5. Two wheels of radius $a$ are mounted on the ends of a common axle of length $b$ such that the wheels rotate ...
6
votes
2answers
270 views

Are Poisson brackets of second-class constraints independent of the canonical coordinates?

Say we have a constraint system with second-class constraints $\chi_N(q,p)=0$. To define Dirac brackets we need the Poisson brackets of these constraints: $C_{NM}=\{\chi_N(q,p),\chi_M(q,p)\}_P$ . Is ...
6
votes
2answers
176 views

Dirac bracket and second class constraints in first-order gravity formalism

In the first order formulation of general relativity, the frame field $e_{\mu}^a$ and $\mathrm{SO}(3,1)$ spin connection $\omega_{\mu c}^b$ are independent variables. In the Hamiltonian formulation of ...
5
votes
2answers
303 views

Lagrange multiplier and constraint force

The Lagrangian with Lagrange multiplier in the form $$L= T- V + \lambda f(q, \dot{q},t).$$ But there are different ways of writing the constraint $f = 0$. Will that lead to different EOMs? Let me ...
5
votes
1answer
743 views

Why are D'Alembert's Principle and the Principle of Least Action Related?

Why do we get the same differential equations from both principles? Surely there is a fundamental connection between them? When written out, the two seem to have nothing in common. $$\sum _i ( ...
5
votes
1answer
786 views

Gauss law in classical U(1) gauge theory

I can see that $a_{0}$ is not an independent field and Gauss law is a constraint on the theory arising from field equations. But, I don't get the geometrical picture. Let $A$ be the space of all ...
5
votes
2answers
287 views

Secondary constraints leads to the value of lagrange multiplier

From Lagrangian I got two primary constraint $\phi_i$ and $\phi$. And my Hamiltonian in presence of the constraints becomes- $$H_p=p\dot q-L+\lambda_i\phi_i+\lambda\phi$$ here the $\lambda_i$ and ...
5
votes
0answers
95 views

The consistency conditions of constrained Hamiltonian systems

I am studying the Hamiltonian description of a constrained system. There are some questions puzzled me for days, which I have been stuck on it. From the lagrangian, we can obtain the primary ...
4
votes
3answers
460 views

Writing $\dot{q}$ in terms of $p$ in the Hamiltonian formulation

In the Hamiltonian formulation, we make a Legendre transformation of the Lagrangian and it should be written in terms of the coordinates $q$ and momentum $p$. Can we always write $dq/dt$ in terms of ...
4
votes
3answers
243 views

Odd number of second class constraints (!)

For my thesis, I have calculated the constraints for a system using Dirac method of constraint analysis. The problem is I got odd number of second class constraints (!), which gives me unusual numbers ...
4
votes
1answer
274 views

Lagrange Multipliers Versus Generalized Coordinates

When forced to explain to someone why one could either set up a general Lagrangian & then incorporate constraints using Lagrange multipliers, as opposed to just setting up a Lagrangian with ...
4
votes
2answers
953 views

Counting degrees of freedom in presence of constraints

In a $N$ dimensional phase space if I have $M$ 1st class and $S$ 2nd class constraints, then I have $N-2M-S$ degrees of freedom in phase space. How can I calculate the degrees of freedom in ...
4
votes
2answers
71 views

Confusion with potential in simple pendulum

I'm a maths student taking a course in classical mechanics and I'm having some confusion with the definition of a potential. If we consider a simple pendulum then the forces acting on the end are ...
4
votes
1answer
128 views

Is it possible to project a problem of mechanics in a lower dimensionality?

I had the intuition that, in classical mechanics, when the trajectory of a body is known, then analysis of its motion can be done in the linear space of that trajectory, if all forces are projected on ...
4
votes
3answers
225 views

About constraints of the first class and electrodynamics

Consider a theory in the Hamiltonian formalism and assume that it has constraints between canonical variables $Q, \pi$. By the Dirac terminology, the set of constraints $F_{a}(Q, \pi) \approx 0$ of ...
3
votes
2answers
331 views

Hamiltonian from a Lagrangian with constraints?

Let's say I have the Lagrangian: $$L=T-V.$$ Along with the constraint that $$f\equiv f(\vec q,t)=0.$$ We can then write: $$L'=T-V+\lambda f. $$ What is my Hamiltonian now? Is it $$H'=\dot q_i p_i ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

First class and second class constraints

Hello I am working on a project that involves the constraints. I checkout the paper of Dirac about the constraints as well as some other resources. But still confuse about the first class and second ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Euler-Lagrange equations and friction forces

We can derive Lagrange equations supposing that the virtual work of a system is zero. $$\delta W=\sum_i (\mathbf{F}_i-\dot {\mathbf{p}_i})\delta \mathbf{r}_i=\sum_i ...
3
votes
3answers
7k views

How is a Hamiltonian constructed from a Lagrangian with a Legendre transform

many textbooks tell me that Hamiltonians are constructed from Lagrangians like $$L=L(q,\dot{q})$$ with a Legendre transformation to obtain the Hamiltonian as $$H=\dot{q}\frac{\partial L}{\partial ...
3
votes
1answer
293 views

Missing terms in Hamiltonian after Legendre transformation of Lagrangian

Short question Given any Lagrangian density of fields one could possibly conceive, is it the case that after one has performed a Legendre transformation, if the Hamiltonian is then expressed in terms ...
3
votes
2answers
494 views

primary constraints for constrained Hamiltonian systems

I would be most thankful if you could help me clarify the setting of primary constraints for constrained Hamiltonian systems. I am reading "Classical and quantum dynamics of constrained Hamiltonian ...
3
votes
1answer
321 views

Reduction of Nambu Goto action to true degrees of freedom

First consider the particle $$S=m\int\sqrt{-\dot{X}^2}d\tau$$ if you choose the static gauge $\tau=X^0$ and replace it in the action you get $$=m\int\sqrt{1-\dot{X}^j\dot{X}^j}d\tau$$ So now, you ...
3
votes
2answers
271 views

Non-relativistic QFT Lagrangian for fermions

Take the ordinary Hamiltonian from non-relativistic quantum mechanics expressed in terms of the fermi fields $\psi(\mathbf{x})$ and $\psi^\dagger(\mathbf{x})$ (as derived, for example, by A. L. Fetter ...
3
votes
1answer
262 views

Lapse and shift in ADM decomposition

Poisson in Relativist's Toolkit and also other authors in various papers state explicitly that after one does the 3+1 decomposition, the lapse and shift $N$ and $N^a$ are non-dynamical variables, and ...
3
votes
1answer
158 views

Yang-Mills constraints and Poisson brackets

Let's have constraints for Yang-Mills theory: $$ \varphi_{a} = \partial_{i}\pi^{i}_{a} - f_{abc}\pi^{b}_{i}A^{c}_{i}. $$ I have read the statement that $$ \tag 1 [\varphi_{a}(\mathbf x), ...
3
votes
1answer
312 views

Clarifying constraint forces in Lagrangian dynamics

In the Lagrangian formulation, the addition of constraint forces that are unknown can be done with Lagrange multipliers, which allows for the forces to be found. Taking $k$ constraints of the form ...
3
votes
1answer
597 views

Point of Lagrange multipliers

I am trying to understand how for a constrained system the introduction of Lagrange multipliers facilitates the incorporation of the holonomic constraints. I am using Classical Mechanics by John ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a bilateral constraint?

In the realm of mechanics/rigid body dynamics, can anyone tell me what a bilateral constraint is? Can't seem to find any information on the exact definition, just uses of it such as "considering only ...
3
votes
2answers
292 views

Ball Bearing Inside a Hollow, Spinning Rod: where is the logical flaw?

As described in the title, suppose we have a frictionless, hollow rod that is rotating in the $xy$-plane with some fixed angular velocity $\omega$. The rod is pivoting around its midpoint. Suppose we ...
3
votes
1answer
279 views

Why can we assume independent variables when using Lagrange multipliers in nonholonomic systems?

I'm studying from Goldstein's Classical Mechanics. In section 2.4, he discusses nonholonomic systems. We assume that the constraints can be put in the form $f_\alpha(q, \dot{q}, t) =0$, $\alpha = 1 ...
3
votes
2answers
397 views

Elimination of velocities from momenta equations for singular Lagrangian

this doubt is related to Generalized Hamiltonian Dynamics paper by Dirac. Consider the set of $n$ equations : $p_i$ = $∂L/∂v_i$, (where $v_i$ is $q_i$(dot) = $dq_i/dt$, or time derivative of ...
3
votes
1answer
372 views

Showing constraint is nonholonomic

One example of a nonholonomic constraint is a disk rolling around in the cartesian plane that is constrained to not be slipping. These leads to the constraint $dx - a \sin\theta d\phi = 0$ and $dy - ...
3
votes
1answer
101 views

Fermionic Poisson bracket

I'd like to understand the Poisson bracket for fermions in classical field theory defined on a cylinder (with coordinates $(t,x)$, $x$ being the compact direction) and propagating on $T^n$ with ...
3
votes
2answers
133 views

Hamiltonian for a Lagrangian with coupling

I am dealing with the following Lagrangian density $$\mathscr{L}_{em}= -\frac{1}{2}\rho\omega^2 u^2 +\frac{1}{2}\nabla u:\Sigma :\nabla ...