9478

Phase Space of a Simple Pendulum

Consider the motion of a pendulum of length described by the differential equation , where is the gravitational acceleration and is the angle between the pendulum and the vertical direction. This Demonstration plots the phase space diagram (i.e., along the horizontal axis and on the vertical axis). The separatrix, plotted in red, is given by , where is the Hamiltonian of the system. The separatrix separates phase space into two different regions. The inside region, where the pendulum oscillates back and forth, corresponds to . The outside region corresponds to , where the pendulum continuously turns through vertical planar circles.

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