We’re rewarding the question askers & reputations are being recalculated! Read more.

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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
25
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
24
votes
6answers
14k views

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 ...
22
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
15
votes
1answer
7k 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 $\psi^{*}$ ...
14
votes
6answers
11k views

Why does diamond have lower tensile strength than Iron?

Let me first give you the tensile strength of both substances: Diamond: 1600 MPa Steel : 2617 MPa As you guys should know, tensile strength is how much a ...
13
votes
5answers
483 views

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 $\...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

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.
12
votes
4answers
416 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
28k 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 \dot{...
12
votes
1answer
646 views

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

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\...
11
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
506 views

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 ...
11
votes
1answer
629 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
1answer
1k views

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. ...
9
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
738 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
4answers
1k views

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....
9
votes
0answers
425 views

Does a good path integral exist in Loop Quantum Gravity?

The Hamiltonian operator of Loop quantum gravity is a totally constraint system $$H = \int_\Sigma d^3x\ (N\mathcal{H}+N^a V_a+G)$$ Here, $\Sigma$ is a 3-dimensional hypersurface; a slice of ...
8
votes
7answers
9k 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, ...
8
votes
2answers
449 views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
355 views

What is wrong with my argument to derive the Hamiltonian in relativity?

In General Relativity (and special too) the Lagrangian for a particle of mass $m$ in the absence of forces other than gravity is $$L=m\sqrt{g_{\mu\nu}U^\mu U^\nu}$$ where $U^\mu$ is the four-...
8
votes
1answer
2k 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 ( \...
8
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
693 views

Why is transverse delta distribution needed for Poisson brackets of classical EM field components?

During reading a German lecture notes (Quanten Optik by Dirk–Gunnar Welsch) about quantization of the EM field, I stumbled over a statement I cannot reproduce in detail: Generally, it is argued, that ...
7
votes
3answers
447 views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
314 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 $$\mathbf{r}_1 = \mathbf{r}_1(q_1, q_2,..., q_{3N-k}, t)$$...
7
votes
1answer
257 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
3answers
16k views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
536 views

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(...
7
votes
1answer
3k 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
3answers
594 views

How to find Hamiltonian from this simple Lagrangian? (tricky)

$$L~=~ \frac{1}{2} \dot{q} \sin^2{q} $$ Is it zero or not defined?
6
votes
2answers
2k 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 -L'~?...
6
votes
2answers
172 views

Compute the Legendre transform for a singular Lagrangian

I'm given the lagrangian: $$ L(q,\dot{q}) = \frac{1}{2}(\dot{q_1}^2+\dot{q_2}^2+2\dot{q_1}\dot{q_2})-\frac{k}{2}(q_1^4+q_2^4). $$ I have to compute the Legendre transformation associated to it. The ...
6
votes
2answers
323 views

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} \...
6
votes
1answer
287 views

Inconsistency in Lagrangian vs Hamiltonian formalism?

Can both Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms lead to different solutions? I have a simple system described by the Lagrangian \begin{equation} L(\eta,\dot{\eta},\theta,\dot{\theta})=\eta\dot{\theta}+...
6
votes
1answer
417 views

(Anti)commutation of ghosts and fermions

I would like to ask whether fermionic Grassmann fields in a gauge theory path integral (say in QCD) should be chosen to commute or anticommute with ghost and anti-ghost fields. The way most textbooks ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 \dot{\...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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
2answers
373 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
4answers
260 views

Question about holonomic constraints

Goldstein says that when a system of $N$ particles is subject to $k$ holonomic constraints, the positions $\mathbf{r}_1, \dots, \mathbf{r}_N$ can be parameterized by $3N - k$ independent coordinates $...
6
votes
2answers
405 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
157 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
11k views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
949 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 $...