Classical Mechanics

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Classical Mechanics

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INTRODUCTION

Lagrange's equations of motion have been introduced first for systems of particles and then foe rigid

bodies. We also looked at the variational principles that also led to the equation of motion. The power of

the Lagrangian formulation was based on being able to us generalized coordinates to develop the equation

of motion. Lagrange's equations are invariant under well-defined coordinate transformations. With the

appropriate choice of coordinates, we ended up with the minimal number of equations necessary to

describe the dynamics of a system. Coordinates chosen to be compatible with consraints eliminated the

necessity to deal with constraints forces.

Nevertheless, the Lagrangian formulation is not the most general formulation in analytical dynamics. The

equations of motion thus developed are equal in number to the number of degrees of freedom. The

equations are of the second order.

The solutions of Lagrange's equations described the trajectory of a single point in the configuration space.

This space, however, is not the best place to analyze the solutions. Through each point in the

configuration space, an infinite number of different solutions may pass, depending on the given velocities

at the point. Take, for example, a simple harmonic oscillator. The configuration space is the real line. An

infinite number of solutions to the equations may pass through any point on the real line.

It is much more valuable to consider position and velocity as independent variables. Thus we analyze the

motion of a point in the plane: one axis for the position and one axis for the velocity. This is similar to the

energy method discussed in Chapter 1. Now each point in this state space has two coordinates: one for

position and the other for velocity. Conversely, the pair of coordinates defines a unique state of the

system. A unique solution to the problem passes through any point in the state space. Thus, the state space

is the logical place for analysis.

We write Lagrange's equations of motion as

, =

LEGENDRE TRNASFORMATIONS

Suppose that f(x) is a twice-differentiable function that is strictly convex, that is,

f(x) > 0

on some interval. We introduce a new variable, called the tangential coordinate, defined by,

p = f(x)

which is the slope of the curve. By the Inverse Function Theorem, Equation (5.3) can be solved for

x = x(p)

based on the convexity assumption (5.2) on f(x). We now introduce a new function

g(p) = xp f(x)

which is regarded as a function of p. The transformation from the variable pair [x, f(x)] to the variable pair

[x, f(x)] to the variable pair [p, g(p)] defined by (5.4) is known as the Legendre Transformation of f(x)

with respect to the variable x. Thus transformation has some remarkable properties. First,

= x + p

= x

by definition (5.3) of the tangential coordinate p. Hence x is the tangential coordinate for g(p). Also, the

Legendre transformation of g(p) with respect to the variable p is

px g(p) = px [xp f(x)]

= f(x)

Hence tere is a duality between the variable pairs [x, f(x)] and [p, g(p)].

For example, if f(x) = m

()

Now we can apply a Legendre transformation to a function of several variables. Let

(

(

)

We introduce new coordinates,

By the Implicit Function Theorem, the condition (5.5) guarntees that we can solve the system of equations

(5.6) for

)

Now we define the Legendre transformation of f with respect to the variables

as

(

in which it is understood that the old variables are expressed in terms of the new ones by the relations

(5.7). As in the one-dimentional case, it follows that

And that

(

Hence the transformations are completely symmetrical. There is a duality between the two sets of

variables and functions. There is one more property that is worth not-ing. The variables

do

not actively participate in the transformation, but from the transformation (5.8), it follows that

For each of the subscripts

We have already encountered the Legendre transformation. Recall that the generalized momenta

conjugate to ignorable coordinates are constant. That is,

for all generalized coordinates not appearing in the Lagrangian. Equations (5.12) can be solved for the

generalized velocities

as

tangential coordinates, then the Legendre transformation of the Lagrangian with the respect to the

generalized velocities associated with the ignorable coordinates is

which of course is the Routhian function. It is the property (5.11) that allows us to formulate the equation

of motion for the nonignorable coordinates in terms of the Routhian R.

HAMILTONS CANONICAL EQUATIONS

We are now in the position to make the appropriate change of variables. We take the Legendre

transformation of the Lagrangian with respect to all of the generalized velocities. The tangential

coordinates associated with the generalized velocities in the Lagrangian function are the conjugate

momenta conveniently given by

The Lagrangian function is quadratic in the generalized velocities and in fact is a positive-definite

function of the generalized velocities. Hence condition (5.5) is evidently satisfied. This allows ud to solve

Equations (5.13) for all of the generalized velocities

. The

Legendre transformation of the Lagrangian with respect to all of the generalized velocities is

The dual function H in (5.14) is a function of the generalized coordinates

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