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Homework Help: Pendulum problem using Lagrangian approach

  1. May 24, 2004 #1

    I'm trying to do a problem that goes something like this:

    There is a mass (m) attached to one end of a massless rod (length l). The other end of the rod is attached to a frictionless pivot. The rod is released from rest at an angle F0 < pi/2. At what angle F does the force in the rod change from compressive to tension?

    Attached is a diagram of the situation, as well as what I have done so far. I apologize for not putting my working out in the body of my post, but I haven't used LaTex before, and I don't have the time at the moment to learn how to use it.

    Another thing: The problem should be done using a Lagrangian approach (although it isn't entirely necessary).

    Any help would be highly appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2004 #2
    Oops, forgot to attach the file. And now that I've tried, I realise that I don't know how. The "Manage Attachments" button under "Additional Options" doesn't seem to do anything, and I can't see any other button/link for attachments. The FAQ says:

    "To attach a file to a new post, simply click the [Browse] button at the bottom of the post composition page, and locate the file that you want to attach from your local hard drive."

    Only problem is, I can't find any "Browse" button.

    I know it's probably right in front of me, but I can't see it anywhere. Can anyone help me out here? My "Posting Rules" thing does say that I may post attachments.

    Edit: Here is the attachment. I just realised I have my browser configured to block popups. I know, I am an idiot :)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 24, 2004
  4. May 24, 2004 #3


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    I can't find the attachment, but I would assume that the angle is measured in a right-handed system with [tex]\frac{\pi}{2}[/tex] the direction of the upwards vertical (antiparallell to the direction of the force of gravity)

    Since the trajectory is circular, we may write:
    The acceleration may then be written as:

    Newton's laws of motion may then be written as:
    [tex]T-mg\sin\theta=-ml\omega^{2}[/tex] (radial component)
    [tex]-mg\cos\theta=ml\dot{\omega}[/tex] (transverse component)

    Multiplying the last equation by omega, and integrating, yields:

    Clearly, T changes from compression to tension (at [tex]\theta=\hat{\theta}[/tex])when it is zero:
    Last edited: May 24, 2004
  5. May 24, 2004 #4


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    Major error in first reply edited.
  6. May 25, 2004 #5
    Thanks for that, and sorry I took so long to get back to this. I get everything you did except for the integration bit. Could you explain in more detail how that was done?

    Thanks a lot.
  7. May 25, 2004 #6


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    All right:
    1. Initial conditions are:

    That is, we start from rest.

    2. Using transverse component:
    Remember that [tex]\omega=\dot{\theta}[/tex]
    i.e omega is the temporal derivative of the angle.

    By multiplying the transverse component with omega, we have:

    Hence, we see that both sides are exactly a temporal derivative (by using the chain rule of differentiation); hence, we may integrate both sides from t=0, to an arbitrary time value.
    Using the initial conditions yields the answer.
  8. May 25, 2004 #7
    Aaahh, now I get it.

    You've been a great help, thank you very much.
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