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RACSAM (2012) 106:191224

DOI 10.1007/s13398-011-0046-2
SURVEY
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics
Manuel de Len
Received: 4 May 2011 / Accepted: 17 June 2011 / Published online: 16 July 2011
Springer-Verlag 2011
Abstract The aim of this paper is to present a short historical/scientic review on
nonholonomic mechanics, with special emphasis on the latest developments. Indeed, the
use of differential geometric tools has permitted in the last 25 years a fast and unsuspected
advance in the theory, particularly in a better understanding of symmetries and reduction,
HamiltonJacobi theory and integrability characterizations, and the construction of suitable
geometric integrators. The last part of the paper is devoted to discuss the latest results in
HamiltonJacobi theory for nonholonomic dynamics using our own approach.
Keywords Nonholonomic mechanics Symmetries and reduction
HamiltonJacobi theory Geometric integrators
Mathematics Subject Classication (2000) 37J60 70F25 70H20 70H33
1 Introduction
Nonholonomic mechanics, that is, mechanical systems governed by a lagrangian function
subject to kinematic constraints, is an old topic in mechanics that has attracted a lot of atten-
tion due to its applications to engineering sciences [17, 22] (and also to microswimming in
Biology [76]).
Nonholonomic mechanics has experimented a dramatic change in the last 25 years, due
mainly to the introduction in its study of geometric techniques. Indeed, it was in the beginning
of the eighties when nonholonomic mechanics was fully incorporated into the realm of the
so-called Geometric Mechanics.
The rst objective of this paper is to give a brief historical overview on nonholonomic
mechanics, based in our personal experiences in the approach to the subject. So we start
M. de Len (B)
Instituto de Ciencias Matemticas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientcas,
c/ Nicols Cabrera, 13-15, Madrid 28049, Spain
e-mail: mdeleon@icmat.es
192 M. de Len
reviewing some historical developments due to Hertz, Poincar, and the Russian school
of mechanics, continuing with the seminal work by Koiller [75] (see also Vershik and
Faddeev [140], and Weber [93, 118, 148]) in the beginning of the 1980s which introduces
the modern language of differential geometry in the description of nonholonomic mechani-
cal systems.
The content of this paper does not include new results but we reviewed some of the last
achievements; the term of historical review should be understood as an indication of our
purpose to include some historical references (indeed, linked to the own experience of the
author), but the paper is not a history of the matter. Therefore we discuss some relevant topics
in nonholonomic mechanics, like symmetries and reduction, the development of a convenient
HamiltonJacobi theory and new geometric integrators.
At the end, we discover that these results require a more sophisticatedtool, the so-calledLie
algebroids (or even a more general notion, say skewsymmetric algebroid, where the Jacobi
identity is not required). Indeed, as it was remarked by Alan Weinstein [149], mechanics
should be developed in this new geometric setting. Let us recall that Lie algebroids are the
innitesimal objects associated to Lie groupoids (in the same sense that tangent bundles are
associated to manifolds or a Lie algebra is associated to a Lie group); the use of Lie groupoids
and algebroids is allowing new insights in the theory.
The paper is structured as follows. In Sect. 2 we recall the main notions in Lagrangian and
Hamiltonian mechanics as well as derive the nonholonomic equations of motion. Section 3
is devoted to give a brief historical review. In Sect. 4 we consider examples of nonholonomic
systems as well as nonholonomic toys; we also discuss recent results in different topics: non-
holonomic eld theories, piecewise nonholonomic systems or higher order nonholonomic
constraints. Section 5 we introduce the new geometric setting to deal with nonholonomic
mechanics based in Lie groupoids and Lie algebroids. Finally, in Sect. 6 we shall give a rst
application of this newsetting to study HamiltonJacobi theory of nonholonomic mechanical
systems.
2 Lagrangian and hamiltonian mechanics. Nonholonomic mechanics
2.1 Lagrangian mechanics
A mechanical system is governed by a Lagrangian function L which is just the difference
between the kinetic energy T and the potential energy V of the system. Usually, there are
some relations among the coordinates, the so-called holonomic constraints, which are used
to introduce generalized coordinates (q
A
) in the conguration manifold Q, where A runs
from 1 to n = dim Q (n is the number of degrees of freedom).
Therefore, the Lagrangian function is L = L(q
A
, q
A
), where ( q
A
) are the generalized
velocities. The lagrangian is L = T V, where T(q
A
, q
A
) =
1
2
g
AB
(q) q
A
q
B
, g being a
Riemannian metric on Q, and V = V(q
A
) a function on Q.
The Hamiltons principle produces the EulerLagrange equations
d
dt
_
L
q
A
_

L
q
A
= 0, 1 A n. (1)
For simple mechanical systems, Eq. (1) are just the translation of the well-known Newton
second law.
A geometric version of Eq. (1) can be obtained as follows (see [92]).
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 193
The lagrangian is a function L : T Q R, where here the tangent bundle T Q
represents the space of velocities. Consider the (1,1)-tensor eld S and the Liouville vector
eld dened locally on the tangent bundle T Q of Q:
S =

q
A
dq
A
, = q
A

q
A
.
We construct the Poincar-Cartan 1 and 2-forms

L
= S

(dL),
L
= d
L
,
where S

denotes the adjoint operator of S.


The energy is given by
E
L
= (L) L,
so that we recover the classical expressions

L
= dq
A
d p
A
, E
L
= q
A
p
A
L,
where p
A
=
L
q
A
denotes the generalized momenta.
We say that L is regular if the 2-form
L
is symplectic, which in coordinates turns to be
equivalent to the regularity of the Hessian matrix of L with respect to the velocities
_
W
AB
=

2
L
q
A
q
B
_
In this case, the equation
i
X

L
= dE
L
(2)
has a unique solution, X =
L
, called the EulerLagrange vector eld;
L
is a second order
differential equation (SODE) that means that its integral curves are tangent lifts of their pro-
jections on Q (these projections are called the solutions of
L
). The solutions of
L
are just
the solutions of Eq. (1).
If
L
: T T Q T

T Q is the musical isomorphism,


L
(v) = i
v

L
, then we have

L
(
L
) = dE
L
.
The Legendre transformation FL : T Q T

Q is a bred mapping (that is,

Q
FL =
Q
, where
Q
: T Q Q and
Q
: T

Q Q denote the canonical


projections of the tangent and cotangent bundle of Q, respectively) dened by
FL(q
A
, q
A
) = (q
A
, p
A
).
A direct computation shows that L is regular if and only if FL is a local diffeomorphism.
In what follows, we will assume that FL is in fact a global diffeomorphism (in other
words, L is hyperregular) which is the case when L is a lagrangian of mechanical type, say
L = T V, where
T is the kinetic energy dened by a Riemannian metric g on Q,
V : Q R is a potential energy.
Indeed, in this case we have W
AB
= g
AB
, where g
AB
= g(

q
A
,

q
B
).
194 M. de Len
2.2 Hamiltonian mechanics
The hamiltonian counterpart is developed on the cotangent bundle T

Q of Q. Denote by

Q
= dq
A
dp
A
the canonical symplectic form, where (q
A
, p
A
) are the canonical coordi-
nates on T

Q. The Hamiltonian energy is just H = E


L
FL
1
and the Hamiltonian vector
eld is the solution of the symplectic equation
i
X
H

Q
= d H.
The integral curves (q
A
(t ), p
A
(t )) of X
H
satises the Hamilton equations
dq
A
dt
=
H
p
A
,
dp
A
dt
=
H
q
A
(3)
If f, g are two functions dened on the phase space we dene the Poisson bracket
{ f, g} =
Q
(X
f
, X
g
) =
f
q
A
g
p
A

f
p
A
g
q
A
The Poisson bracket has the following properties:
bilinear
skewsymmetric
Leibniz rule
{ f, gh} = { f, g}h + g{ f, h}
satises the Jacobi identity
{ f, {g, h}} +{g, {h, f }} +{h, { f, g}} = 0
Since FL

Q
=
L
, we deduce that
L
and X
H
are FL-related, and consequently FL
transforms the EulerLagrange equations (1) into the Hamilton equations (3).
An important fact is that the Lie bracket of vector elds on Q is related with the canonical
symplectic structure on T

Q as follows. Given a vector eld X on Q, that is, a section of


T Q Q, we dene a linear function

X : T

Q R using the natural pairing between


vectors and covectors; then we have

[X, Y] = {

X,

Y}
Notice also that the bracket on T

Q is equivalent to have a tensor eld of type (2,0) on


T

Q given by:

Q
(d f, dg) = { f, g}

Q
is an example of Poisson tensor or Poisson structure.
2.3 Nonholonomic systems
A nonholonomic mechanical system consists of
1. a lagrangian function L = L(q
A
, q
A
),
2. subject to nonholonomic constraints
i
(q
A
, q
A
) = 0.
These are kinematic constraints (constraints involving the velocities).
If
i
(q
A
, q
A
) =
i
A
(q) q
A
(respectively,
i
(q
A
, q
A
) =
i
A
(q) q
A
+ b
i
(q)) is linear
(respectively, afne) in the velocities the constraints are called linear (respectively, afne).
Otherwise, they are called nonlinear.
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 195
Invoking the D Alembert principle for linear and afne constraints (or the Chetaev
principle, for nonlinear constraints) we derive the nonholonomic equations of motion
d
dt
_
L
q
A
_

L
q
A
=
i

i
q
A
, 1 A n

i
(q
A
, q
A
) = 0
_
_
_
(4)
where
i
=
i
(q
A
, q
A
) are Lagrange multipliers to be determined.
2.4 A paradigmatic nonholonomic system: the rolling disk
To illustrate the general theory, let us consider a disk rolling without sliding on a horizontal
plane, which can be considered as a paradigmatic example of a nonholonomic mechanical
system.
Let (x, y) be the coordinates of the point of contact with the oor, the angle measured
from a chosen point of the rim to the point of contact (rotation angle), is the angle between
the tangent to the disk at the point of contact and the x axis (heading angle), and is the
angle of inclination of the disk.
The conguration manifold is then Q = R
2
S
1
S
1
S
1
.
The lagrangian is given by L = T V where
T =
1
2
m( x
2
+ y
2
+ R
2

2
+ R
2

2
sin
2
) mR(

cos ( x sin y cos )


+

sin ( x cos + y sin )) +


1
2
I
1
(

2
cos
2
) +
1
2
I
2
(

+

sin )
2
and
V = mgR cos
Here, m is the mass of the disk, R is the radius, and I
1
and I
2
are the principal momenta of
inertia. The rolling without sliding condition means that the following constraints have to be
fulllled along the motion

1
= x (R cos )

= 0,
2
= y (R sin )

= 0.
The important fact is that all the congurations are available, but not all the velocities.
3 Some historical remarks
3.1 Nonholonomic mechanics before Hertz
Nonholonomic systems are, roughly speaking, mechanical systems with constraints on their
velocities that are not derivable from position constraints.
Nonholonomic systems arise, for instance, in mechanical systems that have rolling contact
(for example, the rolling of wheels without slipping) or certain kinds of sliding contact (such
as the sliding of skates). They are a remarkable generalization of classical Lagrangian and
Hamiltonian systems in which one allows position constraints only.
The oldest publication that addresses the dynamics of a rolling rigid body is Euler in
1734 [47], in which small oscillations of a rigid body moving without slipping on a horizon-
tal plane were studied.
196 M. de Len
Later, the dynamics of a rigid body rolling on a surface was studied in Routh (1860) [119],
Slesser (1861) [128] Vierkandt (1892) [145], and Walker (1896) [147].
Historically, certain errors of the well-known mathematicians Neumann and Lindelof [95]
were caused by an incorrect application of the Lagrange equations in the presence of non-
integrable constraints in the description of the problem of a body rolling without sliding on
the horizontal plane.
The Lindelof mistake was detected by Chaplygin (see [33], vol. 1, pages 5175), and
attracted the attention of many scholars of that time, like Appell, Bobylev, Chaplygin,
Cenov, Hamel, Hertz, Maggi, Voronec, Zukovskii, It should be noticed that early work by
Ferrers, Korteweg, Neumann was ignored.
According to [19] the derivation of the equations of motion of a nonholonomic system
in the form of the EulerLagrange equations corrected by some additional terms to take
into account the constraints (but without Lagrange multipliers), was outlined by Ferrers in
1872 [51]. The formal derivation of this form of equations was performed by Voronetz in
1901 [146]. In the case in which some of the conguration variables are cyclic, such equations
(now called Chaplygin equations) were obtained by Chaplygin in 1895 (see [32, 33]).
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 197
In any case, the general understanding of inapplicability of Lagrange equations and
variational principles to the nonholonomic mechanics is due to Hertz, who expressed it
in his fundamental work [62] that deals mostly with his conception of hidden cyclic param-
eters (coordinates, masses), as opposed to the conventional notion of interaction as a result
of force application. Furthermore, Hertz coined the term nonholonomic system in 1894.
Hertz wanted to construct the Foundations of Mechanics disposing entirely with the notion
of force, replacing it by equivalent velocity constraints. His basic principle, which yields pre-
cisely the LagrangedAlembert equations, states that the geometric curvature of the path is
always a minimum, subjected to the constraints.
One of the rst discoveries by Hertz was that the usual integral variational principles
such as the principle of least action or Hamiltons principle do not hold for non-holonomic
systems. However, Otto Holder pointed out that if the variations in the variational principles
are chosen in the right way, the principles remained valid. Instead of assuming, as Hertz had
done, that the varied motion should satisfy the constraints, Holder assumed that the variations
satisfy the constraints. If the system is non-holonomic the varied motion will not satisfy the
constraints, Holders variational principle is not about an ordinary variational problem, but
it gives the correct trajectories.
It is interesting to remark the reaction by Poincar to Hertz developments. In his review of
Hertzs book, Poincar says [117] (we borrowthe next paragraphs fromBorisov and Mamaev
[21]):
Hertz terms a system holonomic when the following holds: if the systems constraints
do not allow a direct transition from one position to another innitely close position,
then they either do not allow indirect transitions between these positions. Only rigid
constraints exist in such systems. It is evident that our sphere is not a holonomic system.
So, it sometimes happens that the principle of least action cannot be applied to non-
holonomic systems. Indeed, one can proceed from position A to position B taking the
path that we have just discussed, or, undoubtedly, one of many other paths.
Among these, there is, evidently, one path corresponding to the least action.
Hence, it should have been possible for the sphere to follow this path from A to B. But
this is not so: whatever the initial conditions of motion may be, the sphere will never
pass from A to B. In fact, if the sphere does pass from position A to position A?, it
198 M. de Len
does not always follow the path that corresponds to the least action. The principle of
least action holds no more.
Hertz says,In this case, a sphere obeying this principle would seem to be a living
creature, which deliberately pursues a certain goal, while a sphere following the laws
of Nature would look as an inanimate monotonously rolling mass But such con-
straints do not exist in Nature. So-called rol ling without sliding is actually rolling with
slight sliding. This phenomenon belongs to the class of irreversible phenomena, such
as friction; these phenomena are still poorly investigated, and we have not yet learned
to apply to them the true principles of Mechanics.
Our reply is,Rolling without sliding does not contradict either the law of energy con-
servation, or any other law of physics known to us. This phenomenon can be realized
in the observable world within the accuracy that would allow its application to con-
struction of the most accurate integration machines (planimeters, harmonic analyzers,
etc.). We have no right to exclude it from consideration as impossible. As for our prob-
lems, they still remain regardless of whether such rolling is realized exactly or only
approximately. To accept the principle, it is necessary to require that its application to a
problemwith almost exact source data would yield the results, as close to the exactness
as the source data were. Besides, other (rigid) constraints can also be realized in Nature
only approximately. But nobody is going to exclude them from consideration
3.2 A milestone: Neimark and Fuffaevs book
An important milestone in the development of nonholonomic mechanics has been the book
by Neimark and Fufaev [112].
Let us recall some facts about this book. The idea of the book started in 1949/1950, around
the A.A. Andronovs seminar, and the work started in 1951 by Neimark. In the next year the
work was discontinuous because the interest of the authors in the subject decreased. Much
later, the authors were again attracted by the study of nonholonomic dynamics and the book
was nally written. The book is plenty of ideas, examples and applications.
Another important step was the paper by Vershik and Faddeev [140]. Indeed,
This paper containsin our opinionthe introduction of Modern Differential Geometry
in the study of nonholonomic systems.
It contains many ideas and techniques later rediscovered by other authors.
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 199
The reduction procedure for nonholonomic systems with symmetries has been discussed
by Jair Koiller [75], where the author revises the work by Chaplygin and extends his results
to the case of non Abelian groups. Indeed, Koiller considers mechanical systems whose
conguration space is the total space of a principal bundle, the constraints given by the
horizontal space of a principal connection.
Indeed, symmetries are very relevant in mechanics, and, in particuular in nonholonomic
systems, as the following quotation by Fomenko [53] shows:
One of the interesting ocurrences of symmetry in mechanics is the rolling of a solid
body without slipping along a two dimensional surface (possibly of a complex pro-
le). The results of this process are studied by the mechanics of nonholonomic sys-
tems Recently, deep and interesting connections of this subject with Lie groups were
discovered
Another important step (inspired in Koillers paper), again in the realm of the reduction
of nonholonomic systems with symmetry, is the paper by Bloch et al. [18]. A relevant issue
here is that the existence of a symmetry does not imply necessarily a conserved quantity.
Therefore we have to discuss the compatibility of the constraints with the symmetries, that
is, how the symmetries are placed with respect to the constraints. In the quoted paper, the
authors classify the constraints and introduce a nonholonomic momentum mapping.
Let us describe some alternative approaches:
A symplectic setting (also inspired in Koiller) is due to Bates, Snyaticki and collabora-
tors [13] (see also [11, 12, 40]). The idea is to construct a symplectic subbundle on where
the constraints vanish and then the symplectic mechanism produces the dynamics.
Cantrijn, Sarlet and Saunders [124, 125] have described the dynamics in terms of jet
bundles (see also [57, 85, 108]).
Marle [98, 99] has developed a hamiltonian point of view (see also Dazord [42]).
Ehlers, Koiller, Montgomery and Rios [46] were inspired in the original treatment by
Cartan.
An approach using implicit differential equations can be found in Ibort et al. [67] (see
also Grcia and Martn [60]).
Our own approach was also inspired in Koiller, Bloch et al, and particularly in an almost
ignored paper by Cariena and Raada [27]. This approach has permitted:
a better understanding of the introduction of the nonholonomic bracket [24, 26, 68]
a method of reduction [25] which integrates those previously developed by Bloch et al.
[18] and Bates et al. [13]
the study of existence of invariant measures [23].
4 Geometric nonholonomic mechanics
4.1 Nonholonomic examples and devices
Some examples and devices have played an important role in the development of nonholo-
nomic mechanics. We shall a list of some of them:
Classical examples. Any class of rolling body. A large variety of examples can be found
in Neimark and Fuffaev book [112]. It should be noticed that, related with these prob-
200 M. de Len
lems, there is a relevant research connected with differential and algebraic geometry:
Agrachev [2], Fatima Leites and co-workers [63], Jurdjevic [71, 72],
Another important source of examples, coming fromthe study of rigid bodies, is the study
of nonholonomic systems on Lie groups: Veselov and Veselova [143, 144], Fedorov and
co-workers [48, 49],
In recent times, the so-called nonholonomic toys have deserved a lot of attention from
the scholars: the wowblestone, ratleback or celtic stone (see the papers by Bondi [20]
and Tokieda and Moffatt [109]; the skateboard (see Kuleshov [82], Kremnev and
Kuleshov [81]); the snakeboard (see Ferraro, Kobilarov, de Len, Martn de Diego and
Marrero [86, 74]).
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 201
4.2 Nonhonomic and vakonomic dynamics
One of the more interesting historical events in this issue was the paper of Korteweg [80].
Up to that point (and even persisting until recently) there was some confusion in the
literature between nonholonomic mechanical systems and variational nonholonomic systems
(also called vakonomic systems). The latter are appropriate for optimal control problems.
One of the purposes of Kortewegs paper was to straighten out this confusion, and in doing
so, he pointed out a number of errors in papers up to that point.
The difference between nonholonomic and vakonomic dynamics relies in the different
principle applied in both cases:
nonholonomic dynamics is derived using the d Alembert principle.
vakonomic dynamics is obtained using a variational principle looking for extremals curves
among those satisfying the constraints.
Given two points x, y Q we dene the manifold of twice piecewise differentiable curves
which connect x and y as
C
2
(x, y) = {c : [0, 1] Q | c is C
2
, c(0) = x, c(1) = y}
We know that
T
c
C
2
(x, y) = {X : [0, 1] T Q | X is C
1
, X(t ) T
c(t )
Q, X(0) = 0, X(1) = 0}
Assume that the lagrangian L : T Q R is subjected to constraints given by a subman-
ifold M of T Q. Locally, M is dened by the equations

i
(q
A
, q
A
) = 0
Dene

C
2
(x, y) = { c C
2
(x, y) |

c(t ) M for all t [0, 1]}
Given a curve c

C
2
(x, y) we dene a vector subspace
V
c
= {X T
c
C
2
(x, y) | S

(d
i
)(

X) = 0, i,
for all vector elds

X T Q along

c which projects onto X}
202 M. de Len
Therefore, if X = X
A
q
A
, we deduce that X V
c
if and only if
X
A

i
q
A
= 0
Dene the functional
J : C
2
(x, y) R
c
1
_
0
L( c(t )) dt
We have
dJ(c)(X) =
1
_
0
_
L
q
A

d
dt
_
L
q
A
__
X
A
dt
for all X T
c
C
2
(x, y), c C
2
(x, y).
Therefore we have three different options:
Unconstrained systems. A curve c is a motion of the lagrangian system dened by L if
and only if c a critical point of J, that is,
dJ(c)(X) = 0
for all c C
2
(x, y); this is equivalent to satisfy the following equations of motion
L
q
A

d
dt
_
L
q
A
_
= 0
X T
c
C
2
(x, y).
Nonholonomic mechanics A curve c

C
2
(x, y) is a motion if and only if
dJ( c)(X) = 0
for all X V
c
; this is equivalent to the equations of motion
L
q
A

d
dt
_
L
q
A
_
=
i

i
q
A
plus the constraints.
Remark The derivation of the equations of motion for nonlinear constraints and even the
existence of such constraints have been deserved much attention fromthe researchers. We
refer here to [14, 41, 43, 67, 121] for detailed discussions, including the famous Atwood
machine (see also [78, 116]).
Vakonomic mechanics A curve c

C
2
(x, y) is a motion if and only if
dJ( c)(

X) = 0
for all c T
c

C
2
(x, y), or in other words, c is a critical point of J restricted to

C
2
(x, y).
This is equivalent to satisfy the following equations
L
q
A

d
dt
_
L
q
A
_
=
i
_
d
dt
_

i
q
A
_


i
q
A
_
+
d
i
dt

i
q
A
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 203
We can also prove that c is a motion if and only if the curve ( c(t ), (t )) is a motion of
the unconstrained lagrangian
L = L
i

i
.
The terminology vakonomic (mechanics of variational axiomatic kind) was coined by
Kozlov ([4]).
Vakonomic dynamics will not be discussed here in detail, but we refer to [4, 810, 59, 54
56, 106, 107] for more details. For the relation to Sub-Riemannian geometry we refer
to [110].
Comparison between both approaches have been discussed in [36, 59, 94], where our own
approach based in a convenient setting for both dynamics using an extension of the Skinner
and Rusk formalism (see [126, 127]). The method developed is sosticated but it gives a
universal and computational way to compare both dynamics.
4.3 A geometrical setting
If we realize that the bundle of 1-forms S

((T M)
0
) is locally generated by the local 1-forms
{S

(d
i
)}, we can rewrite Eq. (4) as follows
i
X

L
dE
L
S

((T M)
0
)
X T M.
_
(5)
We assume the admissibility condition:
dim(T M)
0
= dim S

((T M)
0
)
which is equivalent to say that the matrix
_

i
q
A
_
has maximal rank m.
(For linear constraints the above conditions means that the set of 1-forms {
i
=

i
A
(q)dq
A
} is linearly independent and, indeed, a local cobasis of the distribution M).
We also assume the compatibility condition:
F

T M = {0}
where F is the distribution on T Q (along M) such that
F
0
= S

((T M)
0
)
and F

denotes the
L
-complement of F.
Notice that F

= Z
i
where
L
(Z
i
) = S

(d
i
), therefore
L
(F

) = F
0
.
Consider a possible solution of the equation
i
X

L
dE
L
=
i
S

(d
i
);
then X =
L
+
i
Z
i
. If we impose the condition to the dynamics be tangent to the constraint
submanifold we obtain
0 = X(
j
) =
L
(
j
) +
i
Z
i
(
j
) (6)
Denote C
i j
= Z
i
(
j
). Notice that if the matrix (C
i j
) is regular (the compatibility condi-
tion), then we can compute the Lagrange multipliers solving the linear equation (6) at each
204 M. de Len
point of M. In this case we can obtain the nonholonomic dynamics X
nh
which is the unique
solution of Eq. (5).
A simple calculation gives
C
i j
=

i
q
A
W
AB

j
q
B
where (W
AB
) is the inverse matrix of (W
AB
), and shows that if (W
AB
) is definite (positive
or negative) then (C
i j
) is inversible.
As a consequence, if the lagrangian function L is of mechanical type then the nonholo-
nomic system is always admissible and compatible.
Remark We can consider more general nonholonomic systems without these regularity con-
ditions, even with singular lagrangians (see [89]).
Assume that the nonholonomic systemis compatible and admissible, then we have a direct
sum decomposition
T
x
(T Q) = T
x
M F

x
for all x M. In terms of vector bundles we have a Whitney sum decomposition
T T Q
|M
= T M F

with two complementary projections P : T T Q


|M
= T M and Q : T T Q
|M
= F

such that
X
nh
= P(
L
).
Remark To be more precise, the result X
nh
= P(
L
) holds if the constraint are homogenous,
that is, is tangent to the constraint submanifold,
|M
T M. This is the case for linear
constraints.
Assuming the regularity of the Lagrangian, we have that the Lagrangian and
Hamiltonian formulations are locally equivalent. If we suppose, in addition, that the Lagrang-
ian L is hyperregular, then the Legendre transformation
FL : T Q T

Q, (q
A
, q
A
) (q
A
, p
A
= L/ q
A
)
is a global diffeomorphism. The constraint functions on T

Q become
i
=
i
FL
1
, i.e.

i
(q
A
, p
A
) =
i
_
q
A
,
H
p
A
_
,
where the Hamiltonian H : T

Q R is dened by H = E
L
FL
1
. Since locally
FL
1
(q
A
, p
A
) = (q
A
,
H
p
A
), then
H = p
A
q
A
L(q
A
, q
A
),
where q
A
is expressed in terms of q
A
and p
A
using FL
1
.
The equations of motion for the nonholonomic system on T

Q can now be written as


follows
q
A
=
H
p
A
p
A
=
H
q
A

i
p
B
H
BA
_

_
(7)
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 205
together with the constraint equations

i
(q, p) = 0
where H
AB
are the components of the inverse of the matrix
(H
AB
) = (
2
H/p
A
p
B
)
It should be noticed that
_

i
p
B
H
BA
_
(q, p) =
_

i
q
A
FL
1
_
(q, p).
The symplectic 2-form
L
is related, via the Legendre map, with the canonical symplec-
tic form
Q
on T

Q. Let

M denote the image of the constraint submanifold M under the
Legendre transformation, and let

F be the distribution on T

Q along

M, whose annihilator
is given by

F
0
= FL

(S

((T

M)
0
)).
Observe that

F
0
is locally generated by the m independent 1-forms

i
=

i
p
A
H
AB
dq
B
, 1 i m.
The nonholonomic Hamilton equations for the nonholonomic system can be then rewritten
in intrinsic form as
(i
X

Q
d H)
|

M


F
0
X
|

M
T

M
_
(8)
The compatibility condition is now written as

F

T

M = {0}, where denotes the
symplectic complement with respect to
Q
. Equivalently, the matrix
(

C
i j
) =
_

i
p
A
H
AB

j
p
B
_
(9)
is regular. On the Lagrangian side, the compatibility condition is locally written as
det(

C
i j
) = det
_

i
q
A
W
AB

j
q
B
_
= 0 , (10)
where W
AB
are the entries of the Hessian matrix
_

2
L
q
A
q
B
_
1A,Bn
.
The compatibility condition is not too restrictive, since it is trivially veried by the usual
systems of mechanical type (lagrangian =kinetic energypotential energy), where the H
AB
represent the components of a positive definite Riemannian metric. The compatibility con-
dition guarantees the existence of a unique solution of the constrained equations of motion
(8) which, henceforth, will be denoted by

X
nh
on the Hamiltonian side and X
nh
on the
Lagrangian side. Moreover, if X
H
is the Hamiltonian vector eld of H (i
X
H

Q
= d H) then

i
=

C
i j
X
H
(
j
). (11)
206 M. de Len
4.4 Reduction
The question of reducing ordinary or partial differential equations which are invariant under
the action of a Lie group has attracted considerable attention in recent years. To reduce means
to obtain equations with fewer coordinates or, when possible, to obtain a globally dened
differential operator on a quotient manifold.
Let us consider a nonholonomic lagrangian system with symmetry, that is, we have a
regular lagrangian function L : T Q R, a constraint submanifold M of T Q and a Lie
group G acting on Q such that L and M are G-invariant with respect to the lifted action
on T Q.
For any element g we denote by
Q
and
T Q
the induced vector elds on Q and T Q,
respectively. Notice that
T Q
is tangent to M since the G-invariance.
We also assume that the different actions of G are free and proper, so that we have well-
dened quotient manifolds:
Q

Q = Q/G
T Q

T Q = T Q/G
M

M = M/G
The energy E
L
also projects to a function

E
L
on

T Q.
In the sequel we denote by V the subbundle of T T Q whose bers are the tangent spaces
to the G-orbits:
V
x
= T
x
(Gx)
for all x M.
Notice that
V
x
T
x
M
due to the G-invariance of M.
In the case of unconstrained systems that admits a Lie group of symmetries, Noethers
theorem states that the invariance of the lagrangian implies a momentum conservation law.
Indeed, let
J : T Q g

be the momentum mapping dened by


J(x), =
L
(x),
T Q

The function J

is dened by
J

(x) = J(x),
Let
L
be the solution of the equation
i

L

L
= dE
L
Therefore, we have

L
(J

) = d J

(
L
) = (i

T Q

L
)(
L
) = (i

L

L
)(
T Q
) =
T Q
(E
L
)
In consequence, the invariance of L implies the invariance of E
L
so that J

is a conserved
quantity.
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 207
But in the case of nonholonomic mechanics, we will have
X(J

) = (i
X

L
)(
M
) =
M
(E
L
) +(
M
)
where F
o
.
Therefore, the G-invariance only implies
X(J

) = (
M
)
If
M
V F, then J

is a conserved quantity. Such is called a horizontal symmetry.


In general, the situation is more involved, and we distinguish three cases:
1. The pure kinematic case
V
x
F
x
= {0}
for all x M (no horizontal symmetries at all) and
T
x
M = V
x
+(F
x
T
x
M)
for all x M.
2. The case of horizontal symmetries:
V
x
F
x
= V
x
for all x M, that is, V
x
F
x
, for all x M.
3. The general case:
{0} V
x
F
x
V
x
The pure kinematic case is really important, since it contains as a particular case the
Caplygin systems:
1. Q Q/G is a principal bundle with structure group G;
2. L : T Q R is a G-invariant lagrangian;
3. the constraints are given by the horizontal subspaces of a connection on Q Q/G.
If T Q = H V then we can prove that the nonholonomic mechanical system can be
reduced to an unconstrained system on Q/G with a reduced lagrangian L

on T(Q/G)
subject to an external force of gyroscopic type.
4.5 Geometric integration for nonholonomic mechanical systems
The development of the so-called geometric integrators has been a milestone in the history
of numerical approaches to mechanics (we refer to [61, 102, 103, 123] for more thorough
expositions; see also [101, 105]).
Let us say that given a hamiltonian system on a symplectic manifold (P, ) and
hamiltonian energy H, an algorithm(say, a collection of maps F
h
: P P, h a parameter)
is said to be:
a symplectic integrator if each F
h
: P P is a symplectic map (that is, it leaves
invariant).
an energy integrator if H F
h
= H.
a momentum integrator if J F
h
= J where J : P g

is the momentum map for


the action of a Lie group G on (P, ).
208 M. de Len
An algorithm having one or more of these properties is called a mechanical integrator.
It is also a well-known fact that one algorithm preserving at the same time the symplectic
structure, the energy and the momentum, gives the exact solution.
These integrators are closely related to those based on the Moser and Veselov discretization
technique [111, 141, 142].
The extension of these geometric integrators to the case of nonholonomic systems is far
to be reached but it is an active eld of research.
We want to describe in a brief way two recent approaches (later we will discuss a more
sophisticated approach based on Lie groupoids).
Corts and Martnez approach [35, 39]:
The starting point to construct integrators for mechanical systems with non-holonomic
constraints is to develop a discrete version of the LagrangedAlembert principle (DLA).
Thus we can construct numerical integrators that capture the essential qualitative fea-
tures of this kind of systems. Indeed. these non-holonomic integrators derived from the
DLA principle preserve the symplectic structure along trajectories. Moreover, for non-
holonomic systems with symmetry, non-holonomic integrators possess a discrete version
of the non-holonomic momentum equation. For horizontal symmetries (see the above
section), the associated momenta are preserved exactly by the discrete ow. For the case
when no non-holonomic momentum map exists, the continuous ow is reduced to an
unconstrained systems with a non-conservative force.
The authors also prove that their approach works for the discrete reduced space, so that
one has a generalized variational integrator in the sense of Kane et al. [73]. As one could
expect, when the non-conservative forces vanish, the proposed integrator is indeed a
variational integrator.
The developed nonholonomic integrator is tested against a RungeKutta method.
de Len et al. approach [90, 91]:
In this approach, the nonholonomic integrators are based on the method of generating
functions (recall that generating functions form the basis for many symplectic integra-
tion procedures). The modication to the holonomic scheme includes the effects in the
canonical transformation of the constraint forces. This idea is based on understanding the
effects of the constraint forces on the rate of change of the symplectic form. The numerical
scheme seems to work quite well in the examples given in the paper, even better than in
Corts and Martnez integrator.
4.6 Piecewise nonholonomic systems
As we have previously discussed, rolling a disk or a ball on a plane are standard examples
of nonholonomic mechanical systems, and these problems are well understood; even, some
progress have been made for any smooth deformation of the surfaces. But for non-smoothly
deformed surfaces, much less is known.
Think for instance on a polyhedral approximationc of a smooth surfaces; it is clear that
nonholonomy is conserved. But current definitions of nonholonomic constraints (like those
that we have discussed in the previous sections) are referred to systems described by ordinary
differential equations, and are thus inapplicable to a plohedral system. In these systems we
study the set of positions and orientations that a polyhedral part can reach by rolling on a
plane through sequences of adjacent faces. Such more general systems with nonholonomic
features may be used to represent some very general classes of systems and devices of great
practical relevance.
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 209
An interesting paper is [120] by Andy Ruina. We nd interesting to reproduce here the
content of the Summary of the paper:
There the author considers mechanical systems with intermittent contact that are smooth
and holonomic except at the instants of transition. Overall such systems can be nonholo-
nomic in that the accessible conguration space can have larger dimension than the instanta-
neous motions allowed by the constraints. The known examples of such mechanical systems
are also dissipative. By virtue of their nonholonomy and dissipation such systems are not
Hamiltonian. Thus there is no reason to expect them to adhere to the Hamiltonian prop-
erty that exponential stability of steady motions is impossible. Since nonholonomy and
energy dissipation are simultaneously present in these systems, it is usually not clear whether
their sometimes observed exponential stability should be attributed solely to dissipation, to
nonholonomy, or to both. However, it is shown here on the basis of one simple example, that
the observed exponential stability of such systems can follow solely from the nonholonomic
nature of intermittent contact and not from dissipation. In particular, it is shown that a dis-
crete sister model of the Chaplygin sleigh, a rigid body on the plane constrained by one
skate, inherits the stability eigenvalues of the smooth system even as the dissipation tends
to zero. Thus it seems that discrete nonholonomy can contribute to exponential stability of
mechanical systems.
(see also [15, 34, 97]).
In our opinion, research in this issue should be fostered.
4.7 Non classical nonholonomic constraints
A eld of great importance which has not been included in the general theory of nonholo-
nomic systems are the various systems in which the rolling constraints are not classical.
For instance, the kinematics constraints that arise during the rolling of an elastic pneu-
matic tire or a railroad wheel are very different from the classical idealization of the rolling
of a rigid body without sliding. Different and inspiring models can be found in the book by
Neimarl and Fuffaev [112].
This kind of systems have inspired a suitable geometrical setting, developed in a series of
papers: Cendra, de Len, Ibort and Martn de Diego [31], or the so-called generalized non-
holonomic systems mainly studied by the Argentinian school (Sergio Grillo, Jorge Solomn,
Hernn Cendra and Paula Balseiro [6, 7, 29, 30]).
4.8 Nonholonomic eld theory
A natural extension of nonholonomic mechanical systems is that to classical eld theories.
A classical eld theory is governed by a Lagrangian function depending on the space-
time coordinates (x

), the elds (y
A
), and its derivatives with respect to the space-time
coordinates, that is, L = L(x

, y
A
, z
A

).
In several papers we have considered classical eld theories subjected to nonholonomic
constraints, that is, our system is given by:
A lagrangian
L = L(x

, y
A
, z
A

)
subject to constraints of the form

i
(x

, y
A
, z
A

) = 0
210 M. de Len
A rst result (Marsden et al. [104]), where the authors have considered incompressible
uids. But in this case, the constraints are not truly nonholonomic (by integration on the
space coordinates, the constraints disappear).
In [16, 139] we have studied this kind of systems, obtaining the nonholonomic eld
equations using geometric tools. The weakness of the theory is the lack of examples,
which should be a priority in the future research (some recent work has been developed
by Vankerschaver [135138]).
4.9 Unilateral constraints
A interesting case is when the mechanical system is subjected to time-dependent two-sided
nonholonomic as well as one-sided (impulsive) constraints. One simple example to illustrate
this kind of systems is a sphere rolling without sliding on a horizontal plane and hitting a
rough wall.
A regular Lagrangian system is considered, with conguration space Q. The system is
subjected to nonholonomic constraints which are modelled by a submanifold with boundary
of the tangent bundle T Q, where the boundary induces a one-sided nonholonomic con-
straint. In addition, at points of the boundary, some impulsive reaction forces are assumed to
act. Along the constraint submanifold, a co-distribution is dened, called the Chetaev bun-
dle. This bundle, which in general will not be of constant rank, represents the reaction forces
induced by the constraints and the impulsive forces. It is shown that when two additional
conditions (an admissibility and a compatibility condition) are satised, the system admits a
well dened dynamics. The latter is recovered fromthe description of the constrained system
in terms of a submanifold of a bred product bundle over TQ. From the equations dening
this submanifold one can then derive the equations of motion as well as the expressions for
the instantaneous jumps in the momenta due to the impulsive reaction forces. In the case of
permanent constraints, suitable projectors are constructed which, among others, allow one
to evaluate these jumps in the momenta. This, in particular, leads to a geometric formulation
of Carnots theorem, which establishes a relationship between the momenta before and after
the action of the impulsive forces.
For more details we refer to [38, 6466, 83] (see also [122, 150]).
5 A new setting for nonholonomic mechanics
5.1 Weinstein s program
In 1992 Alan Weinstein [149] proposed an ambitious program to develop mechanics on a
more general setting, Lie algebroids. Let us recall the notion of a Lie algebroid:
Denition 1 A Lie algebroid structure in the vector bundle
D
: D Q is a R-linear
bracket B
D
: (
D
) (
D
) (
D
) and a morphism of vector bundles
D
: D T Q,
the anchor map, such that
1. B
D
is skew-symmetric,
B
D
(, ) = B
D
( , ), for , (
D
);
2. B
D
satises the Jacobi identity
B
D
(B
D
(
1
,
2
),
3
) + B
D
(B
D
(
2
,
3
),
1
) + B
D
(B
D
(
3
,
1
),
2
) = 0;
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 211
3. If we denote
D
: (
D
) X(Q) the morphism of C

(Q)-modules induced by the


anchor map, then
B
D
(, f ) = f B
D
(, ) +
D
()( f ) ,
for , (D) and f C

(Q).
The reasons behind this project were that Lie algebroids are natural extensions of tangent
bundles and Lie algebras, which are the natural arena to develop mechanics. Indeed, for a
tangent bundle the Lie algebroid structure is given by the usual Lie bracket of vector elds
with the identity as the anchor, and for a Lie algebra, the bracket is just the own of the algebra,
being the anchor the zero mapping (the Lie algebra is considered as a trivial vector bundle
over its zero vector). In addition, if L : T Q R is a lagrangian function and G is a Lie
group of symmetries, then T Q/G Q is a Lie algebroid (the so-called Atiyah algebroid)
and L reduces to a lagrangian l : T Q/G R, which is a true lagrangian in this new
universal language.
In the rest of this paper we will develop a more general setting using the so-called skew-
symmetric algebroids (see [5, 86], where the condition of integrability is not necessary. This
new setting allows to obtain unsuspected results for a HamiltonJacobi theory in nonholo-
nomic systems.
5.2 Nonholonomic integrators and Lie groupoids
Another interesting research line is the construction of numerical algorithms that produce
sufciently accurate, affordable, and robust numerical approximations of the nonholonomic
dynamics. Indeed, the construction of geometric integrators for nonholonomic dynamics is
very recent as an open problem [96]:
The problemfor the more general class of non-holonomic constraints is still open, as
is the question of the correct analogue of symplectic integration for non-holonomically
constrained Lagrangian systems
The main guiding idea for geometrically simulate nonholonomic systems comes from
Hlders variational principle which is not a standard variational principle [4], but admits an
adequate discretization. This is, roughly speaking, the procedure introduced by Corts and
Martnez [39] and followed by other authors [48, 52, 96] extending, moreover, the results to
nonholonomic systems dened on Lie groups (see also [91] for a different approach using
generating functions). From the geometric perspective it is possible to see all these situations
as particular cases of nonholonomic systems on Lie groupoids [70, 100]. This idea follows the
program proposed by Weinstein [149] for the study of discrete mechanics on Lie groupoids.
Remember that a Lie groupoid over a differentiable manifold Q is a differentiable manifold
G together with the following structural maps:
two submersions, the source map : G Q and target map : G Q. The maps
and dene the set of composable pairs
G
2
= {(g, h) G G | (g) = (h)};
a multiplication map m: G
2
G, (g, h) gh.
an identity section : Q G of and , such that for all g G, ((g))g = g =
g((g));
an inversion map i : G G, g g
1
, such that for all g G, gg
1
= ((g)),
g
1
g = ((g)).
212 M. de Len
From this structure maps it is possible to dene the left-translation by g G and the right-
translation by g as the diffeomorphisms
l
g
:
1
((g))
1
((g)); h l
g
(h) = gh,
r
g
:
1
((g))
1
((g)); h r
g
(h) = hg.
Take the vector bundle : AG Q, whose ber at a point x Q is A
x
G = V
(x)
=
Ker(T
(x)
). Indeed AG is equipped with an structure of Lie algebroid. For any section
X Sec (AG) it is possible to construct the corresponding left-invariant (resp., right-invari-
ant) vector eld on G, that will be denoted by

X (resp.,

X ) (see [70] for details).


A generalized discrete nonholonomic (or constrained) Lagrangian system on G is deter-
mined by:
a regular discrete Lagrangian L
d
: G R,
a constraint distribution, D
c
, which is a vector subbundle of the bundle AG Q of
admissible directions. We will denote by
D
c
: D
c
Q the vector bundle projection and
by i
D
c
: D
c
AG the canonical inclusion.
a discrete constraint embedded submanifold M
c
of G, such that dimM
c
= di mD
c
.
In [70] it is shown, applying a discrete version of Hlder principle, the discrete nonholo-
nomic equations are given as the solutions of the following difference equation on G:

X
a
(g
k
)(L
d
)

X
a
(g
k+1
)(L
d
) = 0 (12)
where (g
k
, g
k+1
) G
2
(M
c
M
c
) (with (g) = (h) = x) and where {X
a
} is a local
basis of Sec
D
c
on an open subset U of Q such that x U.
Equation (12) admits different applications and interpretations depending on the differ-
ent groupoid we consider. In the case, G = Q Q we obtain the same equations than
in reference [39]. When G is a Lie group, we obtain from Equation (12) the so-called
discrete EulerPoincarSuslov equations (see [48]). Also we may work with Atiyah bundles
G = (Q Q)/G obtaining discretization of nonholonomic reduced systems, including dis-
crete Chaplygin systems, etc.
5.3 Generalized hamiltonian systems
The use of Lie algebroids or even more general concepts leads us to develop a new and very
general setting for hamiltonian mechanics [37, 58, 84].
The idea is to extract the main geometric ingredients in ordinary hamiltonian mechanics,
that is, that developed on cotangent bundles.
Let us recall these main ingredients:
The phase space is the cotangent bundle T

Q, dual of the tangent bundle T Q of the


conguration manifold Q;
The canonical symplectic 2-formon T

Q and its contravariant counterpart, the canonical


Poisson 2-vector
T

Q
on T

Q;
The hamiltonian function dened on T

Q.
If we extrapolate these items we can consider a more general setting:

D
: D M a vector bundle, and
D
: D

M its dual vector bundle.


A linear bivector
D
on D

(not Jacobi identity is required). We denote by { , }


D
the
corresponding almost-Poisson bracket.
h : D

R a hamiltonian function.
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 213
Here linear means that the bracket of two linear functions is a linear function.
Proposition 1 Since
D
is linear, we deduce that
(a)
1
,
2
(
D
) {

1
,

2
}
D
is a linear function on D

,
(b) (
D
), f C

(M) {

, f
D
}
D
is a basic function (that is, a function does
not depend on the bres) with respect to
D
,
(c) f, g C

(M) { f
D
, g
D
}
D
= 0
The linear bivector
D
induces the following structure on D:
an almost Lie bracket on the space (
D
) of sections of D
[ , ]
D
: (
D
) (
D
) (
D
)
(
1
,
2
) [
1
,
2
]
D
where

[
1
,
2
]
D
= {

1
,

2
}
D
.
an anchor map
D
: (
D
) X(M)
f C

(M), (D)
D
()( f )
D
= {

, f
D
}
D

This bracket has the following properties:


a) [ , ]
D
is antisymmetric
b) [
1
, f
2
]
D
= f [
1
,
2
]
D
+
D
(
1
)( f )
2
In general, [ , ]
D
does not satisfy the Jacobi identity. In the case when it satises the Jacobi
identity we say that (D, [, ]
D
,
D
) is a Lie algebroid.
Next, using the almost Lie bracket we can introduce the almost differential
d
D
: (
k
D

) (
k+1
D

) as follows:
Given (
k
D

) then d
D
(
k+1
D

) and
d
D
(
0
,
1
, . . . ,
k
) =
k

i =0
(1)
i

D
(
i
)((
0
, . . . ,

i
, . . . ,
k
))
+

i <j
([
i
,
j
]
D
,
0
, . . . ,

i
, . . . ,

j
, . . . ,
k
)
where
0
,
1
, . . . ,
k
(
D
)
From the definition, we deduce that
(1) (d
D
f )() =
D
()( f ), f C

(M), (
D
)
(2) d
D
(
1
,
2
) =
D
(
1
)((
2
))
D
(
2
)((
1
)) [
1
,
2
]
D
,
(
D
),
1
,
2
(
D
)
(3) d
D
(

) = d
D

+(1)
k
d
D

, (
k
D

),

(
k

)
In general (d
D
)
2
= 0 .
It is a simple exercise to go back and then prove that the following items are equivalent:
A linear bivector
D
on D

;
An almost Lie algebroid structure ([ , ]
D
,
D
) on D;
An almost differential d
D
: (
k
D

) (
k+1
D

) satisfying the above properties


(1) and (2).
214 M. de Len
Under these hypothesis, the dynamics given by a hamiltonian h : D

R is just the
vector eld X
h
=
D
(dh) on D

.
Given local coordinates (x

) in the base manifold M and a local basis of sections of D,


{e

}, we induce local coordinates (x

, y

) on D

and the bivector


D
is written as

D
=

+
1
2
C

The corresponding Hamiltonian vector eld is


X
h
=

(dh)
or, in coordinates,
X
h
=

h
y

h
x

+C

h
y

_

y

5.4 Mechanical systems with nonholonomic constraints


Let G : E
Q
E R be a bundle metric on a Lie algebroid (E, [, ], ).
The class of systems that were considered is that of mechanical systems with nonholo-
nomic constraints determined by:
The Lagrangian function
L(a) =
1
2
G(a, a) V((a)), a E,
with V a function on M
The nonholonomic constraints given by a subbundle D of E
Consider the orthogonal decomposition E = D D

, and the associated orthogonal


projectors
P : E D
Q : E D

Take local coordinates (x

) in the base manifold M and a local basis of sections of E, {e

},
adapted to the nonholonomic problem (L, D), in the sense that
(i) {e

} is an orthonormal basis with respect to G


(that is G(e

, e

) =

)
(ii) {e

} = {e
a
, e
A
} where D = span{e
a
}, D

= span{e
A
}.
Denoting by (x

, y

) = (x

, y
a
, y
A
) the induced coordinates on E, the constraint equa-
tions determining D just read y
A
= 0. Therefore we can choose (x

, y
a
) as a set of coordi-
nates on D.
In these coordinates we have the inclusion
i
D
: D E
(x

, y
a
) (x

, y
a
, 0)
and the dual map
i

D
: E

(x

, y
a
, y
A
) (x

, y
a
)
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 215
where (x

, y

) are the induced coordinates on E

by the dual basis of {e

}.
Moreover, from the orthogonal decomposition we have that
P : E D
(x

, y
a
, y

) (x

, y
a
)
and its dual map
P

: D

(x

, y
a
) (x

, y
a
, 0)
In these coordinates, the nonholonomic system is given by
(i) The Lagrangian L(x

, y

) =
1
2

(y

)
2
V(x

),
(ii) The nonholonomic constraints y
A
= 0.
In this case, the Legendre transformation associated with L is the isomorphism FL :
E E

induced by the metric G. Therefore, locally, the Legendre transformation is


FL : E E

(x

, y

) (x

, y

= y

)
and we can dene the nonholonomic Legendre transformation FL
nh
= i

D
FL i
D
:
D D

FL
nh
: D D

(x

, y
a
) (x

, y
a
= y
a
)
Notice that (E, [ , ], ) is a Lie algebroid and
E
is then a linear Poisson structure
on E

.
If f
1
and f
2
are functions on M, and
1
and
2
are sections of E, then:
{ f
1

E
, g
1

E
}
E
= 0, {

1
, f
1

E
, }
E
= ((
1
)) f
1

E
, {

1
,

2
}
E
=

[
1
,
2
]
In the induced coordinates (x

, y

), the Poisson bracket relations on E

are
{x

, x

}
E
= 0, {y

, x

, }
E
=

, {y

, y

}
E
= C

In other words

E
=

+
1
2
C

The nonholonomic bracket on D

, { , }
nh,D
, is dened by
{F, G}
nh,D
= {F i

D
, G i

D
}
E
P

for all F, G C

(D

)
The induced bivector
nh,D
is

nh,D
=

a

y
a


x

+
1
2
C
c
ab
y
c

y
a


y
b
That is,
{x

, x

}
nh,D
= 0, {y
a
, x

}
nh,D
=

a
, {y
a
, y
b
}
nh,D
= C
c
ab
y
c

nh,D
is a linear bivector on D

, but in general, does not satisfy the Jacobi identity. So,


we are in the case considered above.
216 M. de Len
5.5 Particular cases
1. E = T M. Then the linear Poisson structure on E

= T

M is the canonical symplectic


structure. Thus, D is a distribution on M and { , }
nh,D
is the nonholonomic bracket stud-
ied by Van der Schaft and Maschke [134], Koon and Marsden [77], Cantrijn et al. [24, 26],
and others. It is interesting to note that a previous version of the nonholonomic bracket
appears in [44, 45] in two papers presented by P.A.M Dirac.
2. E = g, where g is a Lie algebra. E is a Lie algebroid over a single point (the anchor map
is the zero map). In this case, the linear Poisson structure on E

= g

is the Lie-Poisson
structure. Thus, if D = h is a vector subspace of g, we obtain that the nonholonomic
bracket (nonholonomic Lie-Poisson bracket) is given by
{F, G}
nh,D

() =
_
, P
_
F

,
G

__
for h

, and F, G C

(h

). In adapted coordinates
{y
a
, y
b
}
nh,D

= C
c
ab
y
c
3. The Atiyah algebroid associated with a principal G-bundle : Q Q/G
E = T Q/G
The linear Poisson structure on E

= T

Q/G is characterized by the following condi-


tion: the canonical projection T

Q T

Q/G is a Poisson epimorphism. In this way,


we obtain the so-called HamiltonPoincar bracket on T

Q/G (see [114]).


If D a G-invariant distribution on QD/G is a vector subbundle of E = T Q/G.
Thus, we obtain a reduced non-holonomic bracket {, }
nh,D

/G
, which is the non-
holonomic HamiltonPoincar bracket on D

/G.
6 A rst application: the HamiltonJacobi theory for nonholonomic mechanical
systems
Let us rst recall the standard formulation of the HamiltonJacobi problem (see [1, 3]).
The issue is to nd a function S(t, q
A
) (called the principal function) such that
S
t
+h
_
q
A
,
S
q
A
_
= 0. (13)
If we put S(t, q
A
) = W(q
A
) t E, where E is a constant, then W satises
h
_
q
A
,
W
q
A
_
= E; (14)
W is called the characteristic function.
Equations (13) and (14) are indistinctly referred as the HamiltonJacobi equation.
In modern symplectic language, M is the conguration manifold, and T

M its cotangent
bundle equipped with the canonical symplectic form

M
= dq
A
dp
A
where (q
A
) are coordinates in M and (q
A
, p
A
) are the induced ones in T

M.
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 217
Let h : T

M R a hamiltonian function and X


h
the corresponding hamiltonian vector
eld:
i
X
h

M
= dh
As we know, the integral curves of X
h
, (q
A
(t ), p
A
(t )), satisfy the Hamilton equations:
dq
A
dt
=
h
p
A
,
dp
A
dt
=
h
q
A
Next, let be a closed 1-form on M, say d = 0; (then, locally = dW)
Theorem 1 (HamiltonJacobi Theorem) The following conditions are equivalent:
(i) If : I M satises the equation
dq
A
dt
=
h
p
A
then is a solution of the Hamilton equations;
(ii) d(h ) = 0
Dene a vector eld on M:
X

h
= T
M
X
h

T

X
h
//
T(T

M)
T
M

==
X

h
//
T M
The following conditions are equivalent:
(i) If : I M satises the equation
dq
A
dt
=
h
p
A
then is a solution of the Hamilton equations;
(i)

If : I M is an integral curve of X

h
, then is an integral curve of X
h
;
(i)

X
h
and X

h
are -related, i.e.
T(X

h
) = X
h

Them we can reformulate the above theorem as follows:
Theorem 2 (HamiltonJacobi Theorem) Let be a closed 1-form on M. Then the following
conditions are equivalent:
(i) X

h
and X
h
are -related;
(ii) d(h ) = 0
218 M. de Len
If
=
A
(q) dq
A
then the HamiltonJacobi equation becomes
h(q
A
,
A
(q
B
)) = const.
and we recover the classical formulation when

A
=
W
q
A
The advantage of this method is that, in spite of the difculties to solve a partial dif-
ferential equation instead of an ordinary differential one, in many cases it works, being an
extremely useful tool, usually more than Hamiltons equations. Indeed, in these cases the
method provides an immediate way to integrate the equations of motion.
The modern interpretation relating the HamiltonJacobi procedure with the theory of
Lagrangian submanifolds is an important source of new results and insights [1, 3]. Let us
remark that, recently, Cariena et al. [28] have developed a new approach to the geometric
HamiltonJacobi theory.
A relevant difference with the unconstrained mechanical systems is that a nonholonomic
system is not Hamiltonian in the sense that the phase space is just the constraint submani-
fold and not the cotangent bundle of the conguration manifold; moreover, its dynamics is
given by an almost Poisson bracket, that is, a bracket not satisfying the Jacobi identity. In
[87, 88], the authors proved that the nonholonomic dynamics can be obtained by projecting
the unconstrained dynamics; this was the point of view adopted in [69] in order to develop a
HamiltonJacobi theory for nonholonomic systems.
Anatural question related with a possible notion of integrability is in what extent one could
construct a HamiltonJacobi theory for nonholonomic mechanics. Past attempts to obtain a
HamiltonJacobi theory for nonholonomic systems were non-effective or very restrictive
(see [44, 130133] and also [115]), because, in many of them, they try to adapt the typical
proof of the HamiltonJacobi equations for systems without constraints (using Hamiltons
principle). Usually, the results are valid when the solutions of the nonholonomic problem are
also the solutions of the corresponding constrained variational problem (see [79, 121, 129]
for a complete discussion).
We will present here an approach to this theory using a new setting in skewsymmetric
algebroids [86] (see also [113]).
Let
D
be a linear bivector on D and : M D

be a section of
D
: D

M.
We dene X

h
= T
D
X
h
It is easy to show that X

h
(x)
D
(D
x
), x M
Indeed, look the local expressions
X

h
=

h
y

=
_
h
y

_
Theorem 3 (HamiltonJacobi Theorem)
Assume that d
D
= 0. Then the two following conditions are equivalent:
(i) : I M integral curve of X

h
integral curve of X
h

(ii) d
D
(h ) = 0
A historical review on nonholomic mechanics 219
Take local coordinates (x

) in the base manifold M, a local basis of sections of D, {e

},
and induced coordinates (x

, y

) on D

. Then if
: (x

) (x

(x

)) (x, (x))
we have
d
D
(h ) = 0
is locally written as
0 = d
D
(h )(e

)
x
=
D
(x)(e

(x))(h )
=

(x)

(h )
x
=

(x)
_
h
x

(x, (x)) +
h
y

(x, (x))

(x)
_
,
Therefore, we obtain the HamiltonJacobi Equations:

(x)
_
h
x

(x, (x)) +
h
y

(x, (x))

(x)
_
= 0
Acknowledgments We acknowledge the partial nancial support of Ministerio de Innovacin y Ciencia,
Project MTM2007-62478 and project Ingenio Mathematica(i-MATH) No. CSD2006-00032 (Consolider-
Ingenio 2010).
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