# Constrained mass point subject to elastic force and weight

**1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data**

Consider a mass point (mass = m) constrained to move on the surface of a sphere (radius = r). The point is subject to its own weight’s force and to the elastic force of a spring (elastic constant = k, rest length = 0) which at the other end is fixed to the sphere’s north pole.

Write the Lagrangian and the Hamiltonian of the system.

Write the Lagrange’s and Hamilton’s equations of motion.

Find the constants of motion.

Give a qualitative description of the point’s movement

**2. Relevant equations**

None given.

**3. The attempt at a solution**

There are 2 degrees of freedom. I choose spherical coordinates theta and phi [but is this correct? The point can reach the poles, where those coordinates aren’t defined anymore].

The kinetic energy is

[itex]T = \frac{m}{2}\cdot (r^2 \dot\theta^{2} + r^{2}sin(\theta)^{2}\dot\phi^{2})[/itex]

The potential energy is

[itex]V = \kappa\cdot r^{2} (1-cos\theta) + mgr(1+cos\theta)[/itex]

The Lagrangian is simply

[itex]L = T-V[/itex]

and, since there isn’t any explicit dependence on time, the Hamiltonian is simply

[itex]H = T+V[/itex], but expressed as a function of the momenta [itex]p_\theta[/itex] and [itex]p_\phi[/itex]. I computed it as [itex]p_\theta \cdot \dot\theta + p_\phi \cdot \dot\phi – L[/itex]

[itex]p_\theta = \frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot\theta}=mr^2\dot\theta[/itex]

[itex]p_\phi = \frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot\phi}=\dot\phi r^{2} sin(\theta)^{2}m[/itex]

Then Lagrange’s equations are only computations (I hope I haven’t mistaken the derivatives), and so are the Hamilton’s.

[itex]p_\phi[/itex] is a constant of motion; the total energy (H or E) is, too. There aren’t other constants of motion.

Then I have drawn the chart of V and I have used it to trace a qualitative phase portrait, and I have made basic observations on equilibrium points (one, unstable, when the point is at the south pole; one, stable, when it is at the north pole; and a circumference (a parallel) depending on the mass and the elastic constant.

And now?

Thank you in advance

Ocirne

http://ift.tt/1dFBw2s

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