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The Lagrange equations for the purpose of our class include dissipation using the Rayleigh

dissipation function and external forces using the idea of generalized forces. I will not derive the

equations here, merely discuss how to form them. I will restrict the discussion to motion in two

dimensions.

The Lagrangian function is the difference between the kinetic energy of a system and its

potential energy. Our systems will include rigid masses, springs and dampers. Forces will

include gravity, which will enter through the potential energy, and external forces and torques.

The kinetic energy of an extended mass confined to two dimensions is given by

1 1

T = m ( x " 2 + y " 2 ) + I# " 2 (1)

2 2

where the position of the center of mass of the mass is given by (x, y) and θ denotes an angle of

rotation about the center of mass.

! The kinetic energy of any system can be written as the sum of

the individual kinetic energies. The masses are connected to each other and/or to the ground, and

these connections lead to constraints, reducing the number of degrees of freedom. One can

always write the kinetic energy using (1) and then simplify by applying the constraints. For

example, the kinetic energy of a pendulum is given formally by (1), but x and y depend on q —

where l denotes the distance from the pivot to the center of mass, and I have assumed a normal

pendulum hanging down. More

! complicated systems have more complicated constraints.

We will consider gravitational and elastic (spring) potential energies. (It is possible to include

electromagnetic potentials, but this is beyond the scope of this course.) The gravitational

potential energy is the usual mgy, where g denotes the acceleration of gravity, supposed to act

down (in the negative y direction) and y denotes the height of the mass, m, with respect to some

reference level. Spring potential energy is given by

1 2

Vk = k ( s " s0 ) (3)

2

!

where k denotes the spring constant, s displacement and s0 the reference length of the spring.

The total potential energy is the sum of all the individual potential energies.

Once the energies have been found it is necessary to apply the constraints. The constraints will

eliminate extra variables, reducing the variable set to the number of degrees of freedom. It is

conventional to denote the variables in this minimum set by q: q1, q2, etc. The Lagrangian is then

a function of the qs and their time derivatives.

It is worth noting that the kinetic energy for our mechanical problems can always be written in

terms of an inertia matrix

! M, which may depend on the qs, but not on the derivatives of the qs.

That form can be written

1 1 n

T = q"T Mq" = # M ij q"iq"j (5)

2 2 i, j=1

where n denotes the number of degrees of freedom of the system. The potential energy for our

problems depends only on!the qs. Thus the Lagrangian can be written in an alternate form

1 n

L= # M ij q"iq"j $ V (q1,q2,L)

2 i, j=1

(6)

The n Lagrange equations for an n degree of freedom system with no damping and no external

forces can be written !

& )* = 0, i = 1,2,L,n (7)

dt % "q#i ( "qi

External forces enter in the form of generalized forces, generally denoted by Q. You can find the

generalized force corresponding

! to the generalized coordinate q by looking at the work done by

the nonpotential forces during a virtual displacement. This is less mysterious than it sounds, and

can often be done by inspection. If an external force is applied to a mass, then it does work when

the mass moves; it is (at least part of) the generalized force corresponding to the generalized

coordinate that varies when the mass moves. The term generalized means that generalized forces

need not be actual forces. We will have generalized forces that are actually torques. (There are

further possible generalizations, but we will not address those in this course.) The generalized

forces bring us to the forced equations corresponding to (7):

& )* = Qi , i = 1,2,L,n (8)

dt % "q#i ( "qi

special case of viscous

! damping (damping proportional to velocity) we can introduce the

Rayleigh dissipation function (RDF). Each damper contributes a term to the RDF that is

analogous in form to the potential energy of a spring. For example, the contribution of a damper

of magnitude c connecting masses i and j would be written

1 2

Fij = c (q"i # q"j ) (9)

2

The complete RDF enters the Lagrange equations on the left hand side:

& )* + = Qi , i = 1,2,L,n (10)

dt % "q#i ( "qi "q#i

• ! energy.

Find the kinetic

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