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Marion Jerry B / Thornton Stephen T / Quinta Edição
http://0e1.org

Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC)

450 views

Marion Jerry B / Thornton Stephen T / Quinta Edição
http://0e1.org

Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC)

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CHAPTER
Some Methods in the
Calculus of Variations
6.1 Introduction
Many problems in Newtonian mechanics are more easily analyzed by means of
alternative statements of the laws, including Lagrange’s equation and Hamilton's
principle.* As a prelude to these techniques, we consider in this chapter some
general principles of the techniques of the calculus of variations.
Emphasis will be placed on those aspects of the theory of variations that
have a direct bearing on classical systems, omitting some existence proofs. Our
primary interest here is in determining the path that gives extremum solutions,
for example, the shortest distance (or time) between two points. A well-known
example of the use of the theory of variations is Fermat's principle: Light travels
by the path that takes the least amount of time (see Problem 6-7)
6.2 Statement of the Problem
The basic problem of the calculus of variations is to determine the function 9(x)
such that the integral
I [roe spd (6.1)
The development of the calculus of variations was begun by Newton (1686) and was extended by
Johann and Jakob Bernoulli (1696) and by Euler (1744). Adrien Legendre (1786), Joseph Lagrange
(1788), Hamilton (1833), and Jacobi (1837) all made important contributions. The names of Peter
Dirichlet (1805-1859) and Karl Weierstrass (1815-1879) are particularly associated with the estab-
lishment of a rigorous mathematical foundation for the subject.
207208 6 / SOME METHODS IN THE CALCULUS OF VARIATIONS
ya) + ana)
Varied
path
Extremum path, 3(3)
x *
FIGURE 6-1 The function y(x) is the path that makes the functional Jan extremum.
The neighboring functions y(x) + an(2) vanish at the endpoints and
may be close to 9(x), but are not the extremum,
is an extremum (ie., either a maximum or a minimum). In Equation 6.1,
y'(x) = dy/dx, and the semicolon in f separates the independent variable x from
the dependent variable y(x) and its derivative y'(x). The functional* J depends
on the function y(x), and the limits of integration are fixed." The function y(x) is
then to be varied until ah extreme value of Jis found. By this we mean that if a
function y = (x) gives the integral Ja minimum value, then any neighboring func-
tion, no matier how close to y(x), must make J increase. The definition of a
neighboring function may be made as follows. We give all possible functions ya
parametric representation y = y(q, x) such that, for a = 0, y = (0, x) = 9(x) is
the function that yields an extremum for J. We can then write
yla, x) = 9(0, x) + an (x) (6.2)
where (x) is some function of x that has a continuous first derivative and that
vanishes at x; and xp, because the varied function (a, x) must be identical with
y(x) at the endpoints of the path: (x,) = (xz) = 0. The situation is depicted
schematically in Figure 6-1.
If fanctions of the type given by Equation 6.2 are considered, the integral J
becomes a functional of the parameter a:
Hla) = [ro 2), 9'(@, 9); shade (6.3)
The quantity Jis a generalization of a function called a functional, actually an integral functional in
this case.
+ltis not necessary thatthe limits of integration be considered fixed. If they are allowed to vary, the prob-
lem inereases to finding not only x(x) butalso x, and x, such that Jis an extremum,6.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM. 209
The condition that the integral have a stationary value (i.e., that an extremum re-
sults) is that J be independent of in first order along the path giving the ex-
tremum (a = 0), or, equivalently, that
a
jal 7 (6.4)
la=0
for all functions (x). This is only a necessary condition; it is not sufficient.
kz =—”rté‘é‘é‘iC'XUaSNThe:ti‘(Ci(a‘aC‘C;OCT
Consider the function f= (dy/dx)®, where y(x) = x. Add to y(x) the function
n(x) = sin, and find f(a) between the limits of x = 0 and x = 27. Show that
the stationary value of J(a) occurs for a = 0.
Solution. We may construct neighboring varied paths by adding to y(x),
300) = x (6.5)
the sinusoidal variation asin x,
y(a, a) = x + asin (6.6)
These paths are illustrated in Figure 6-2 for a = 0 and for two different nonvan-
ishing values of a. Clearly, the function (x) = sin x obeys the endpoint condi-
tions, that is, (0) = 0 = (2m). To determine /(y, y';) we first determine,
dy(a, x)
dx
=1+acosx (6.7)
Wo, 2) = + or sin x i
0 © an
FIGURE 6-2
imple 6.1. The various paths y(a, x) = x-+ asin x. The extremum
path occurs for a = 0.

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