Questions tagged [constrained-dynamics]

A constraint is a condition on the variables of a dynamical problem that the variables (or the physical solution for them) must satisfy. Normally, it amounts to restrictions of such variables to a lower-dimensional hypersurface embedded in the higher-dimensional full space of (unconstrained) variables.

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1answer
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Deriving D'Alembert's Principle

The wiki article states that D'Alembert's Principle cannot derived from Newton's Laws alone and must stated as a postulate. Can someone explain why this is? It seems to me a rather obvious principle.
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Constraints of 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: $$S=-m\...
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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 $\psi^{*}$ ...
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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 ...
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Variational principle for a point particle (massive or massless) in curved space

We know that for a point particle, the action is $$ S[x,e] ~=~ \frac{1}{2}\int_{\lambda_A}^{\lambda_B} d\lambda\left[e^{-1}(\lambda)~g_{\mu\nu}(x(\lambda))~\dot{x}^\mu(\lambda)~\dot{x}^\nu(\lambda) -...
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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 ...
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What are holonomic and non-holonomic constraints?

I was reading Herbert Goldstein's Classical Mechanics. Its first chapter explains holonomic and non-holonomic constraints, but I still don’t understand the underlying concept. Can anyone explain it to ...
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Reduction of Nambu-Goto action to true degrees of freedom

I) First consider the point 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 $$=m\int\sqrt{1-\dot{X}^j\dot{X}^j}d\tau.$$ ...
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Hamilton's principle with semiholonomic constraints in Goldstein

I am studying from Goldstein's Classical Mechanics, 3rd edition. In section 2.4, he discussed Hamiltion's principle with semiholonomic constraints. The constraints can be written in the form $f_\alpha(...
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Hamiltonian for relativistic free particle is zero

One possible Lagrangian for a point particle moving in (possibly curved) spacetime is $$L = -m \sqrt{-g_{\mu\nu} \dot{x}^\mu \dot{x}^\nu},$$ where a dot is a derivative with respect to a parameter $\...
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Free body diagram of block on accelerating wedge

Consider the following system: I am thoroughly confused about certain aspects of the situation described in this diagram in which a block is placed on a wedge inclined at an angle θ. (Assume no ...
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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 \dot{\...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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Matrix derivative of a matrix with constraints

I am looking for a general method to obtain derivative rules of a constrained matrix with respect to its matrix elements. In the case of a symmetric matrix $S_{ij}$ (with $S_{ij}=S_{ji}$), one way to ...
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How to find the rank of the matrix $\frac{\partial ^2\mathcal{L}}{\partial \dot{X^\mu} \partial \dot{X^\nu} }$ for the Nambu-Goto string Lagrangian?

In this case $$\mathcal{L}~=~-T\sqrt{-\dot{X^2}X'^2+(\dot{X}\cdot X')^2}.$$ I was reading some books and papers about the constraints in the Nambu-Goto action, and all of them say something like ...
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What is the position as a function of time for a mass falling down a cycloid curve?

In the brachistochrone problem and in the tautochrone problem it is easy to see that a cycloid is the curve that satisfies both problems. If we consider $x$ the horizontal axis and $y$ the vertical ...
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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 $...
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Holonomic constraints and degrees of freedom

Wikipedia and other sources define holonomic constraints as a function $$ f(\vec{r}_1, \ldots, \vec{r}_N, t) \equiv 0, $$ and says the number of degrees of freedom in a system is reduced by the ...
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Confusion with Virtual Displacement

I have just been introduced to the notion of virtual displacement and I am quite confused. My professor simply defined a virtual displacement as an infinitesimal displacement that occurs ...
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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 ...
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Why are Hamiltonian Mechanics well-defined?

I have encountered a problem while re-reading the formalism of Hamiltonian mechanics, and it lies in a very simple remark. Indeed, if I am not mistaken, when we want to do mechanics using the ...
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Derivation of Lagrange Equations from Newton's Second Law for a Non-holonomic System of Particles

I am interested to write down a derivation of Lagrange equations from Newton's second law for a non-holonomic system of particles. Here, I mention my derivation where I am stuck right at the last step....
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How to find Hamiltonian from this simple Lagrangian? (tricky)

$$L~=~ \frac{1}{2} \dot{q} \sin^2{q} $$ Is it zero or not defined?
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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 ...
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How many degrees of freedom in a massless $2$-form field?

Consider the Kalb-Ramond field $B_{\mu\nu}$ which is basically a massless $2$-form field with the Lagrangian $$ \mathcal L = \frac{1}{2}P_{\alpha\mu\nu}P^{\alpha\mu\nu}\,, $$ where $P_{\alpha\mu\nu} \...
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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 ...
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Why is the Hamiltonian zero in relativity?

I'm trying to understand something with the lagrangian and the hamiltonian formalisms in relativity theory, and why the following result cannot be the same in classical (non-relativistic) mechanics. ...
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D'Alembert's Principle: Necessity 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 ...
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What is the precise relationship between a non-invertible Hessian matrix for the Lagrangian and the presence of a gauge symmetry?

Consider a system described by $q^i(t)$ and its derivatives, by means of a Lagrangian $L=L(q,\dot q)$ and possibly $t$. We say the system is degenerate if $$ \det\left(\frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot ...
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Frequency of small oscillation of particle under gravity constrained to move in curve $y=ax^4$

How to find the frequency of small oscillation of a particle under gravity that moves along curve $y = a x^4$ where $y$ is vertical height and $(a>0)$ is constant? I tried comparing $V(x) = \frac ...
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Why can we assume independent variables when using Lagrange multipliers in non-holonomic systems?

I'm studying from Goldstein's Classical Mechanics, 3rd edition. In section 2.4, he discusses non-holonomic systems. We assume that the constraints can be put in the form $$f_\alpha(q, \dot{q}, t) =0, ...
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Constrained Hamiltonian systems: spin 1/2 particle

I am trying to apply the Constrained Hamiltonian Systems theory on relativistic particles. For what concerns the scalar particle there is no issue. Indeed, I have the action \begin{equation} S=-m\int ...
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Calculus of variations and string theory

In Polchinski's String theory book, Vol 1., in chapter 1, p. 18, he is deriving the Lagrangian in the light cone gauge (that's not necessary to know in order to answer this question), and he gets $$L~...
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Why is the d'Alembert's Principle formulated in terms of virtual displacements rather than real displacements in time? [duplicate]

Why is the d'Alembert's Principle formulated in terms of virtual displacements rather than real displacements in time? EDIT In other words, which step of the derivation of D'Alembert's principle (or ...
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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 -L'~?...
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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 $q_i$)($...
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How are constraint forces represented in Lagrangian mechanics?

Suppose we try to obtain the movement equation for a particle sliding on a sphere (no friction, ideal bodies...). The only forces acting on the particle are its weight and - here's my problem - a ...
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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 - ...
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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 ...
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degree of freedom of a rigid body 5 or 6?

I'm confused here. I have a three particle (rigid) system. What would be the degree of freedom? I found out five. 3 coordinates for center of mass and 2 for describing orientation. But we have only ...
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Lagrangian and KKT Constraint for Falling Ball with a Floor

I am trying to use KKT conditions and slack variables (pg. 118) to put a floor constraint into my Lagrangian for a falling ball with a floor. \begin{align} \text{extrem}\ \ &\int dt\ \frac{1}{2} ...
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Finding generalized coordinates when the implicit function theorem fails

Given some coordinates $(x_1,\dots, x_N)$ and $h$ holonomic constraints, it should always be possible to reduce the coordinates to $n=N-h$ generalized coordinates $(q_1,\dots, q_n)$. This is ...
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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 ...
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Constraints in classical mechanics

I am self-studying classical mechanics and I have a couple of questions about constraints. Goldstein in his book Classical Mechanics writes in the beginning of Section 1.3 that: It is an overly ...
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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 ...
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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 (\mathbf{F}^{(a)}_i+\mathbf{f}_i-\...
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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 ...
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Non-relativistic limit of Hamiltonian for a free particle in general relativity

The Hamiltonian for a particle moving in a gravitational field can be taken as $$\mathcal{H} = \frac12 \sum_{\mu,\nu=0}^3g^{\mu\nu}(x)p_\mu p_\nu\tag{1}$$ as long as the parametrization is affine. ...