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Classical Mechanics - Homework Assignment 2

Alejandro Gomez Espinosa



September 26, 2012
Goldstein, Ch.2, 12 The term generalized mechanics has come to designate a variety
of classical mechanics which the Lagrangian contains time derivatives of q
i
higher
than the rst. Problems for which x = f(x, x, x, t) have been referred to as jerky
mechanics. Such equation of motion have interesting applications in chaos theory.
By applying equations of motion of the calculus of variations, show that if there is
a Lagrangian of the form L(q
i
, q
i
, q
i
, t), and Hamiltons principle holds with the zero
variation of bothq
i
and q
i
at the end points, then the corresponding Euler-Lagrange
equations are
d
2
dt
2
_
L
q
i
_

d
dt
_
L
q
i
_
+
L
q
i
= 0, i = 1, 2, ..., n
Apply this result to the Lagrangian
L =
m
2
q q
k
2
q
2
Do you recognize the equations of motion?.
For the rst part of the exercise, we follow the same procedure as the book to derivate
Lagranges equations from Hamiltons principle, using this Lagrangian. Then:
I =
_
2
1
L(q
i
, q
i
, q
i
, t)dt
I

d =
_
2
1

i
_
L
q
i
q
i

i
d +
L
q
i
q
i

i
d +
L
q
i
q
i

i
d
_
dt (1)
Integrating the last term by parts:
_
2
1
L
q
i
q
i

i
dt =
L
q

2
q
t

2
1

_
2
1

2
q
t
d
dt
_
L
q
_
dt (2)
where the rst term vanishes because all curves pass through the xed end points.
Thus, lets integrate again the last term by parts:

_
2
1

2
q
t
d
dt
_
L
q
_
dt =
d
t
L
q
q

2
1
+
_
2
1
q

d
2
dt
2
L
q
dt (3)

gomez@physics.rutgers.edu
1
where, again, the rst term vanishes. The second term in (1) is similar to the inte-
gration of (2). Then, replacing the second and third term in (1):
I

d =
_
2
1

i
_
L
q
i
q
i

i
d
d
2
dt
2
L
q
q

d +
d
2
dt
2
L
q
q

d
_
dt
We dene a variation q =
q

d, replacing this in the previous expression:


I =
_
2
1

i
_
L
q
i

d
2
dt
2
L
q
+
d
2
dt
2
L
q
_
q dt
Applying Hamiltons principle (I = 0), it requires that the expression inside the
integral must be zero:
d
2
dt
2
_
L
q
i
_

d
dt
_
L
q
i
_
+
L
q
i
= 0
That is what we want to prove.
For the second part, we have to apply this results to the Lagrangian shown. Lets
work on each of the terms separately:
L
q
=
m
2
q kq
L
q
= 0
d
dt
_
L
q
_
=
d
dt
_

m
2
q
_
=
m
2
q
Finally we found that:

m
2
q
m
2
q kq = 0
m q + kq = 0
This equation of motion represents Hookes Law.
2
Goldstein, Ch.2. 18 A point mass is constrained to move on a massless hoop of radius
a xed in a vertical plane that rotates about its vertical symmetry axis with constant
angular speed w. Obtain the Lagrange equations of motion assuming the only external
forces arise from gravity. What are the constants of motion?. Show that if w is
greater than a critical value w
0
, there can be a solution in which the particle remains
stationary on the hoop at a point other than at the bottom, but that if w < w
0
, the
only stationary point for the particle is at the bottom of the hoop. What is the value
of w
0
?
Despite the point mass is constrained to move in the vertical plane of the hoop,
the entire hoop is rotating about the vertical axis, therefore we can use spherical
coordinates for this problem (r, , ). Then, the kinetic energy is:
T =
1
2
mv
2
=
1
2
m( r
2
+ r
2

2
+ r
2
sin
2

2
)
where the rst term is zero because there is no motion in the direction of r, r = a and

= w
2
. On the other hand, the potential energy due to gravity is V = mga cos .
Then, our Lagrangian is:
L = T V =
1
2
ma
2
(

2
+ sin
2
w
2
) mga cos
that depends only on . Following Lagrange formulation:
L

= mw
2
d
2
sin cos mga sin
L

= ma

d
dt
_
L

_
= ma
2

We found the equation of motion:


ma
2

mw
2
d
2
sin cos mga sin = 0
a

sin (w
2
d cos + g) = 0
Looking for constants of motion, we check the value of L/

. As this partial deriva-
tive is not zero, the angular momentum is not a constant of motion. However, our
Lagrangian is not time dependent, thus we can calculate the energy function h:
h =

L = ma
2

1
2
ma
2
(

2
+ sin
2
w
2
) + mga cos
=
1
2
ma
2

_
1
2
ma
2
w
2
sin
2
w
2
mga cos
_
where we call the term inside the parentheses an eective potential. Using this
potential, we can found the places where we expect to have stationary points:
V
eff

= ma
2
w
2
cos sin + mga sin
when this partial derivative is equal to zero, we found stationary points:
ma sin
_
aw
2
cos + g
_
= 0
3
= n for n = 0, 1, 2, ... and = arccos
_

g
aw
2
_
where the rst solution represents the top and the bottom of the hoop. From the
second term, we can see that if w
2
0
= g/a we found other case where the point mass
remains stable.
Goldstein, Ch.2. 19 A particle moves without friction in a conservative eld of force
produced by various mass distributions. In each instance, the force generated by a
volume element of the distribution is derived from a potential that is proportional to
the mass of the volume element and is a function only of the scalar distance from the
volume element. For the following xed, homogeneous mass distributions, state the
conserved quantities in the motion of the particle:
(a) The mass is uniformly distributed in the plane z = 0.
If the mass is distributed in the plane z = 0, the potential does not depend
on the x and y direction. Then, the linear momentum p
x
and p
y
must be
conserved. In the same way, the mass can rotate only about the z, therefore
angular momentum L
z
must be conserved. Finally, since the potential is xed
there is no time dependent contribution in the potential, thus the energy has to
be conserved.
(b) The mass is uniformly distributed in the half-plane z = 0, y > 0.
Since the potential does not depends on the x direction, linear momentum p
x
is
conserved. It can not rotate at all about any axes, so the angular momentum is
not conserved. Finally, since the potential is xed there is no time dependent
contribution in the potential, thus the energy has to be conserved.
(c) The mass is uniformly distributed in a circular cylinder of innite length, with
axis along the z axis.
Since the potential is distributed in a circular cylinder along the z axis, the
potential depends on x and z. Therefore the linear momentum p
z
is conserved.
In the same way, the mass can rotate along the z axis and the angular momentum
L
z
is conserved. Finally, since the potential is xed there is no time dependent
contribution in the potential, thus the energy has to be conserved.
(d) The mass is uniformly distributed in a circular cylinder of nite length, with axis
along the z axis.
Here the potential depend on x, y and z; then linear momentum is not conserved.
As the mass can still rotate along z axis, angular momentum L
z
is conserved.
Finally, since the potential is xed there is no time dependent contribution in
the potential, thus the energy has to be conserved.
(e) The mass is uniformly distributed in a right cylinder of elliptical cross section
and innite length, with axis along the z axis.
Due to the innite length of the cylinder along the z axis, the linear momen-
tum p
z
is conserved. Since the cylinder has elliptical cross section, the potential
will aect also the rotation along z axis, therefore angular momentum is not
conserved. Finally, since the potential is xed there is no time dependent con-
tribution in the potential, thus the energy has to be conserved.
(f ) The mass is uniformly distributed in a dumbbell whose axis is oriented along the
z axis.
4
Due to the form of the dumbbell, the potential will depend on x, y and z; thus
any linear momentum is conserved. But the mass can rotate freely along the z
axis, then the angular momentum p
z
is conserved. Finally, since the potential is
xed there is no time dependent contribution in the potential, thus the energy
has to be conserved.
(g) The mass is in the form of a uniform wire wound in the geometry of an innite
helical solenoid, with axis along the z axis.
Since the potential will depend on x, y and z; and the rotation also varies
along this axis, no linear or angular momentum is conserved. Finally, since the
potential is xed there is no time dependent contribution in the potential, thus
the energy has to be conserved.
Goldstein, Ch.2. 23 Consider two particles of masses m
1
and m
2
. Let m
1
be conned
to move on a circle of radius a in the z = 0 plane, centered at x = y = 0. Let m
1
be
conned to move on a circle of radius b in the z = c plane, centered at x = y = 0. A
light (massless) spring of spring constant k is attached between the two particles.
(a) Find the Lagrangian for the system.
Lets write down the position of each mass in cylindrical coordinates:
For m
1
: x
1
= a cos y
1
= a sin z = 0
For m
2
: x
2
= b cos y
2
= b sin z = c
If we call r the distance between the two mass, then:
r
2
= (x
2
x
1
)
2
+ (y
2
y
1
)
2
+ (z
2
z
1
)
2
= (b cos a cos )
2
+ (b sin a sin )
2
+ c
2
= b
2
cos
2
2ab cos cos + a
2
sin
2
+ b
2
sin
2
2ab sin sin + a
2
sin
2
+ c
2
= a
2
2ab cos( ) + b
2
+ c
2
Now, lets describe the kinetic and potential energy of the system:
T =
1
2
m
1
a
2

2
+
1
2
m
2
b
2

2
V =
1
2
kr
2
L =
1
2
m
1
a
2

2
+
1
2
m
2
b
2

1
2
k(a
2
2ab cos( ) + b
2
+ c
2
)
(b) Solve the problem using Lagrange multipliers and give a physical interpretation
for each multiplier.
The previous Lagrangian is not usefull if we want to solve using Lagrange multi-
pliers because we are already including the constrains. So, we have can describe
the kinetic and potential energy in terms of cartesian coordinates:
T =
1
2
m
1
( x
2
1
+ y
2
q
) +
1
2
m
2
( x
2
2
+ y
2
2
)
V =
1
2
k((x
2
x
1
)
2
+ (y
2
y
1
)
2
+ c
2
)
5
Solving for x
1
:
L
x
1
= k(x
1
x
2
)
d
dt
_
L
x
1
_
=
d
dt
(m
1
x
1
) = m
1
x
1
Similar to the other variables, then the equations of motion are:
m
1
x
1
k(x
1
x
2
) = 0
m
1
y
1
k(y
1
y
2
) = 0
m
2
x
2
+ k(x
1
x
2
) = 0
m
2
y
2
+ k(y
1
y
2
) = 0
In order to apply Lagrange multipliers, we must calculate the generalized force:
Q
k
=
m

=1
_

_
f

q
k

d
dt
f

q
k
_

t
f

q
k
_
The constrain equations are:
x
2
1
+ y
2
1
= a
2
; x
2
2
+ y
2
2
= b
2
After perform the calculation of the generalized force with this constrain equa-
tions, we found:
m
1
x
1
k(x
1
x
2
) = 2
1
x
1
m
1
x
1
(k + 2
1
)x
1
+ kx
2
= 0
m
1
y
1
(k + 2
1
)y
1
+ ky
2
= 0
m
2
x
2
(k + 2
2
)x
1
+ kx
2
= 0
m
2
y
2
(k + 2
2
)y
1
+ ky
2
= 0
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