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Can Liouville's theorem apply to dissipative systems

  1. Feb 25, 2009 #1
    form the proof in Hamiltonian, i didn't find any clue.

    the problem is i cant understand it even i know how to prove it.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2009 #2

    dx

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    Liouville's theorem applies to all mechanical systems if you don't ignore degrees of freedom.
     
  4. Feb 25, 2009 #3

    atyy

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    Is this a correct expansion of what you are saying: Liouville's theorem says the phase space of a Hamiltonian system doesn't contract, so systems with attractors or dissipative systems can't be represented by Hamiltonians - but in principle the non-Hamiltonain behaviour comes from ignoring degrees of freedom?
     
  5. Feb 25, 2009 #4

    dx

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    Yes, as far as we know, all mechanical systems are Hamiltonian. Non-Hamiltonian behavior (like friction, for example) is assumed to be due to ignoring degrees of freedom.
     
  6. Feb 25, 2009 #5
    Thanks for reply!
    indeed, i raise the problem because of the attractors.
    but can you say it more clearly?
    how do we ignore degrees of freedom while dealing with non-Hamiltonian systems?
     
  7. Feb 25, 2009 #6

    atyy

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    Ok, let's suppose we have a damped pendulum. After a long time it will stop oscillating, no matter how hard you kicked it initially. So all trajectories in phase space end up at the same place, ie. the phase space volume has contracted.

    But if we include all the air molecules which take energy away from the pendulum, then although the pendulum degrees of freedom eventually become identical for all trajectories, the air molecule degrees of freedom remain different, and those degrees of freedom preserve the phase space volume.
     
  8. Feb 26, 2009 #7
    that's amazing!:eek:
     
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