Reduction of Hamiltonian Mechanical Systems With Affine Constraints: A Geometric Unification

Robin Chhabra, M. Reza Emami*, Yael Karshon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a geometrical approach to the dynamical reduction of a class of constrained mechanical systems. The mechanical systems considered are with affine nonholonomic constraints plus a symmetry group. The dynamical equations are formulated in a Hamiltonian formalism using the Hamilton-d'Alembert equation, and constraint forces determine an affine distribution on the configuration manifold. The proposed reduction approach consists of three main steps: (1) restricting to the constrained submanifold of the phase space, (2) quotienting the constrained submanifold, and (3) identifying the quotient manifold with a cotangent bundle. Finally, as a case study, the dynamical reduction of a two-wheeled rover on a rotating disk is detailed. The symmetry group for this example is the relative configuration manifold of the rover with respect to the inertial space. The proposed approach in this paper unifies the existing reduction procedures for symmetric Hamiltonian systems with conserved momentum, and for Chaplygin systems, which are normally treated separately in the literature. Another characteristic of this approach is that although it tracks the structure of the equations in each reduction step, it does not insist on preserving the properties of the system. For example, the resulting dynamical equations may no longer correspond to a Hamiltonian system. As a result, the invariance condition of the Hamiltonian under a group action that lies at the heart of almost every reduction procedure is relaxed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021007
JournalJournal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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