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Dissipative vs. conservative

  1. Mar 4, 2006 #1

    I'm reading a book on deterministic chaos, and an important distinction seems to be the one between dissipative and conservative dynamical systems. A dissipative system is defined as a system whose "phase space volumes shrink", whereas in a conservative system phase space volumes are conserved.

    What does this mean?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2006 #2


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    Nice discussion of Phase Space

    In a conservative system, momentum (velocity) is conserved, i.e. not dissipated (reduced), and a particular set (domain) of position and momentum (velocity) statepoints remains. In SHM, e.g. pendulum, the velocity and position have a preserved relationship.

    In a dissipative system, the momentum (velocity) is continually decreasing as a function of position/displacement, as energy is lost (dissipated) with continued motion, until the magnitude of velocity (speed) reaches zero as kinetic energy reaches zero.
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