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On a Consistent Application of Newton’s Law to Constrained Mechanical Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Elias Paraskevopoulos, Sotirios Natsiavas

Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece

Paper No. DETC2013-12346, pp. V07AT10A060; 10 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7A: 9th International Conference on Multibody Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics, and Control
  • Portland, Oregon, USA, August 4–7, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5596-6
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


An investigation is carried out for deriving conditions on the correct application of Newton’s law of motion to mechanical systems subjected to constraints. It utilizes some fundamental concepts of differential geometry and treats both holonomic and anholonomic constraints. The focus is on establishment of conditions, so that the form of Newton’s law remains invariant when imposing an additional set of motion constraints on a system. Based on this requirement, two conditions are derived, specifying the metric and the form of the connection on the new manifold. The latter is weaker than a similar condition employed frequently in the literature, but holding on Riemannian manifolds only. This is shown to have several practical implications. First, it provides a valuable freedom for selecting the connection on the manifold describing large rigid body rotation, so that the group properties of this manifold are preserved. Moreover, it is used to state clearly the conditions for expressing Newton’s law on the tangent space (and not on the dual space) of a manifold. Finally, the Euler-Lagrange operator is examined and issues related to equations of motion for anholonomic and vakonomic systems are investigated.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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