# On the Variational Formulation of the Dynamics of Systems with Friction

2014, Volume 19, Number 1, pp.  100-115

Author(s): Ivanov A. P.

We discuss the basic problem of the dynamics of mechanical systems with constraints, namely, the problem of finding accelerations as a function of the phase variables. It is shown that in the case of Coulomb friction, this problem is equivalent to solving a variational inequality. The general conditions for the existence and uniqueness of solutions are obtained. A number of examples are considered.
For systems with ideal constraints the problem under discussion was solved by Lagrange in his "Analytical Dynamics" (1788), which became a turning point in the mathematization of mechanics. In 1829, Gauss gave his principle, which allows one to obtain the solution as the minimum of a quadratic function of acceleration, called the constraint. In 1872 Jellett gave examples of non-uniqueness of solutions in systems with static friction, and in 1895 Painlevé showed that in the presence of friction, the absence of solutions is possible along with the nonuniqueness. Such situations were a serious obstacle to the development of theories, mathematical models and the practical use of systems with dry friction. An elegant, and unexpected, advance can be found in the work [1] by Pozharitskii, where the author extended the Gauss principle to the special case where the normal reaction can be determined from the dynamic equations regardless of the values of the coefficients of friction. However, for systems with Coulomb friction, where the normal reaction is a priori unknown, there are still only partial results on the existence and uniqueness of solutions [2–4].
The approach proposed here is based on a combination of the Gauss principle in the form of reactions with the representation of the nonlinear algebraic system of equations for the normal reactions in the form of a variational inequality. The theory of such inequalities [5] includes results on the existence and uniqueness, as well as the developed methods of solution.
Keywords: principle of least constraint, dry friction, Painlevé paradoxes
Citation: Ivanov A. P., On the Variational Formulation of the Dynamics of Systems with Friction, Regular and Chaotic Dynamics, 2014, Volume 19, Number 1, pp. 100-115