Register to reply 
Generalization of force. 
Share this thread: 
#1
Feb213, 07:29 AM

P: 3,217

What if we wouldn't define a force as F=dp/dt but instead as a function of
[tex]F=F(p,q,\dot{p},\dot{q})[/tex] How will this change the equations of physics? Maybe there are cases where the force behaves as [tex]k\cdot \frac{dp}{dq}[/tex] where 'k' is some constant to fix the dimensions. I am just tinkering with this idea, really. 


#2
Feb213, 08:06 AM

Homework
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks ∞
P: 12,434

Please define your terms  i.e. can you express the second equation in words?
It looks far too general for any sensible answer. In general  it would not change the physics ... the equations would look different, they'd have different letters in them, but would be mathematcally identical. If you wanted to use some function of p and dp/dt for force, and you wanted to use that to get an equation of motion, then you will find yourself only needing the dp/dt part. You realize that you can define any word to mean anything you like? All you are doing is assigning the label to a different object. 


#3
Feb213, 08:38 AM

Sci Advisor
P: 1,916

However, now that I think about it, there is a formulation of classical mechanics that puts momentum and velocity on equal footing, without assuming one is derivable from the other. Assume that there is a quantity [itex]Q(p,\dot{p},q,\dot{q})[/itex] associated with the motion. The equations of motion are derived by the requirement that [itex]\int Q dt[/itex] is minimized. Then that leads to the equations of motion: [itex]\dfrac{d}{dt} \dfrac{\partial Q}{\partial \dot{q}} = \dfrac{\partial Q}{\partial q}[/itex] [itex]\dfrac{d}{dt} \dfrac{\partial Q}{\partial \dot{p}} = \dfrac{\partial Q}{\partial p}[/itex] If you choose [itex]Q[/itex] carefully, this is equivalent to the usual equations of motion. For example, if you let: [itex]Q = \dfrac{p^2}{2m} + V(q)  p \dot{q}[/itex] then the equations of motion become: [itex]\dfrac{d}{dt} (p) = \dfrac{\partial Q}{\partial q}[/itex] [itex]0= \dfrac{p}{m}  \dot{q}[/itex] Which is equivalent to the usual equations of motion. 


#4
Feb213, 02:09 PM

P: 123

Generalization of force.
I think that if there was such a force, then the definition of "force", i.e. F = [itex]\dot{p}[/itex] woulld be inconsistent, since the magnitude that defines the force ([itex]\dot{p}[/itex]) would be in what we want to define (F) . To me, it looks nonsence to define "something" using terms that invlolve that "something".



#5
Feb213, 11:07 PM

Homework
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks ∞
P: 12,434

I still think it's like asking what our calculations would be like if we defined quadratics as third order polynomials and lines as second order. It would be a funny thing to do  but there's nothing stopping anyone. Math would be just the same, only we'd say that ballistic motion in the absence of air resistance is "linear" (it would just mean something different to what we are used to.)
That's why it doesn't matter that the Newtonian definition of force is inconsistent with the above definition.... it's a different definition. Some definitions are just more useful than others  with one of the considerations being communication. I think we need OP to clarify what was meant. 


Register to reply 
Related Discussions  
Generalization of summation of k^a  General Math  3  
Specialization vs. Generalization  Career Guidance  10  
Is there a generalization to this ?  Calculus  0  
Generalization of SR  Special & General Relativity  14  
Generalization of FLT  Linear & Abstract Algebra  11 