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PHYS20401 Example Sheet 2:

Lagrangian Dynamics

Terry Wyatt

1. In Lecture 4 we wrote down in spherical polar coordinates (r, , ) the Lagrangian for a pointlike particle of mass m moving in a time-independent conservative potential V (r, , ). Demonstrate explicitly that Lagranges equation is valid for the coordinate . (Hint: Look back at your notes for Lecture 3, where we demonstrated explicitly that Lagranges equation is valid for the coordinate in plane polar coordinates.) 2. Here are some simple problems to help you practice solving systems involving angular coordinates using Lagrangian methods. Write down the Lagrangian and then apply Lagranges equation(s) to obtain the equation(s) of motion. Where appropriate calculate the frequency of small oscillations about the equilibrium position. In each case please draw a diagram indicating clearly the direction of any coordinates you dene. By considering simple limiting cases or other methods try to cross check your answers. The systems to be considered are as follows: (a) A simple pendulum has length l and mass m. Analyse in terms of the angular displacement of the pendulum bob from the equilibrium position. In the rst instance, do NOT make the assumption that 1. (Of course, if you subsequently make the assumption that 1 your solution should correspond to SHO.) (b) A simple pendulum has mass m2 and length l. A mass m1 lies at the point of support and can move on a horizontal line lying in the plane in which m2 moves (as shown in the following gure).

(c) A thin rod of mass m and length 2l is suspended from one end and swings in one dimension. Note: it is informative to use try out two alternative methods for calculating the kinetic energy of the rod: i. Calculate and use the moment of inertia of the rod about one end. ii. Calculate and use the moment of inertia of the rod about its centre. Both methods should give the same total kinetic energy. (d) A thin rod of mass m and length 2l stands on a frictionless oor and leans against a frictionless wall. Assume it remains in contact with both of them as it slides. Assume also that the point on the wall that is closest to the place where the rod touches the oor lies vertically below the point where the rod touches the wall.

(e) A particle m2 moves on a vertical axis. The whole system shown in the following gure rotates about this axis with a constant angular velocity . The masses m1 are connected by massless straight rods of length a to the upper pivot and the mass m2 . The angle between the rods and the vertical is .

(f) A uniform circular disk of mass m and radius r rolls without slipping down the planar surface of a stationary wedge that is inclined at an angle to the horizontal. (Include in your answer a demonstration that the moment of inertia of a uniform circular disk of mass m and radius r rotating about its centre is given by: I = 1 mr2 .) 2 (g) A uniform circular disk of mass m and radius r rolls without slipping down the planar surface of a wedge that is inclined at an angle to the horizontal. The wedge has mass M and is itself free to slide without friction on a horizontal planar surface. 3. Just for fun: The harmonic potential, V (x) x2 , leads to oscillations whose period is independent of their amplitude. Can you conceive of any other form for a potential that has the same property?