9722

Normal Modes of a Double Pendulum

The concept of normal modes of a mechanical system is nicely illustrated by a double pendulum. The normal modes of a mechanical system are single frequency solutions to the equations of motion; the most general motion of the system is a superposition of its normal modes. You can adjust the controls to determine how the masses and lengths of the component pendula affect the normal modes. The symmetric mode of oscillation is always of a lower frequency than the antisymmetric mode of oscillation.

SNAPSHOTS

  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]

DETAILS

The Lagrangian, , of the system is given by , where and are the kinetic energy and the potential energy of the system. If we choose as our generalized coordinates the set , where represents the angular displacement of the mass from the vertical, then , where is a unit vector pointing in the direction of increasing and , where is the acceleration due to gravity, approximately near the surface of the Earth. If and are both small, then and . Similarly, if is small, then and . With these approximations, we can write , where , , , and all vector and matrix components refer to the standard basis of , . It is helpful to find a new basis in which both and are diagonal. The components of in (and ) are called normal coordinates and it is helpful to consider Lagrange's equations of motion to fully understand their importance. or . Thus, the off-diagonal components of couple the differential equations governing the motions and . In the new basis both and are diagonal and the equation takes the form . Thus, the components of in the new basis (i.e., the normal coordinates) satisfy a set of homogeneous second order linear differential equations, each of which corresponds to the motion of a simple harmonic oscillator (SHO). To find the basis , we substitute a SHO solution of the form into Lagrange's equations of motion () and find that or . This generalized eigenvalue equation is tackled by solving the secular equation for the eigenvalues and substituting these values back into to determine the eigenvectors . (Alternatively, we can solve a generalized eigenvalue problem using Mathematica's convenient Eigensystem[{,}] command.) The normalized eigenvectors form the new basis and correspond to the normal modes of motion and the associated eigenvalues correspond to the square of the eigenfrequencies at which the various modes vibrate. In a particular mode all generalized coordinates vibrate with the same frequency (the eigenfrequency, or normal frequency, of the mode), while the corresponding eigenvector provides the amplitude of each generalized coordinate's vibration.
G. R. Fowles and G. L. Cassiday, Analytical Mechanics, 6th ed., Fort Worth: Saunders College Publishing, 1999.
F. W. Byron, Jr. and R. W. Fuller, Mathematics of Classical and Quantum Physics, New York: Dover Publications, 1992.
    • Share:

Embed Interactive Demonstration New!

Just copy and paste this snippet of JavaScript code into your website or blog to put the live Demonstration on your site. More details »

Files require Wolfram CDF Player or Mathematica.









 
RELATED RESOURCES
Mathematica »
The #1 tool for creating Demonstrations
and anything technical.
Wolfram|Alpha »
Explore anything with the first
computational knowledge engine.
MathWorld »
The web's most extensive
mathematics resource.
Course Assistant Apps »
An app for every course—
right in the palm of your hand.
Wolfram Blog »
Read our views on math,
science, and technology.
Computable Document Format »
The format that makes Demonstrations
(and any information) easy to share and
interact with.
STEM Initiative »
Programs & resources for
educators, schools & students.
Computerbasedmath.org »
Join the initiative for modernizing
math education.
Step-by-step Solutions »
Walk through homework problems one step at a time, with hints to help along the way.
Wolfram Problem Generator »
Unlimited random practice problems and answers with built-in Step-by-step solutions. Practice online or make a printable study sheet.
Wolfram Language »
Knowledge-based programming for everyone.
Powered by Wolfram Mathematica © 2014 Wolfram Demonstrations Project & Contributors  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  RSS Give us your feedback
Note: To run this Demonstration you need Mathematica 7+ or the free Mathematica Player 7EX
Download or upgrade to Mathematica Player 7EX
I already have Mathematica Player or Mathematica 7+