Title: The physical foundations of geometric mechanics (97 pages)
Author(s): Andrew D. Lewis
Detail: Journal of Geometric Mechanics, 9(4), 487-574, 2017
Journal version: Download

Original manuscript: 2015/11/06
Manuscript last revised: 2017/09/28

The principles of geometric mechanics are extended to the physical elements of mechanics, including space and time, rigid bodies, constraints, forces, and dynamics. What is arrived at is a comprehensive and rigorous presentation of basic mechanics, starting with precise formulations of the physical axioms. A few components of the presentation are novel. One is a mathematical presentation of force and torque, providing certain well-known, but seldom clearly exposited, fundamental theorems about force and torque. The classical principles of Virtual Work and Lagrange-d'Alembert are also given clear mathematical statements in various guises and contexts. Another novel facet of the presentation is its derivation of the Euler-Lagrange equations. Standard derivations of the Euler-Lagrange equations from the equations of motion for Newtonian mechanics are typically done for interconnections of particles. Here this is carried out in a coordinate-free manner for rigid bodies, giving for the first time a direct geometric path from the Newton-Euler equations to the Euler-Lagrange equations in the rigid body setting.

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Last Updated: Fri Oct 27 09:10:18 2017

Andrew D. Lewis (andrew at mast.queensu.ca)