To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time. 4,5
Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
Live Statistics
English Articles
Improved in 24 Hours
Languages
Recent
Show all languages
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.
.
Leo
Newton
Brights
Milds # Gauss's principle of least constraint

The principle of least constraint is one variational formulation of classical mechanics enunciated by Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1829, equivalent to all other formulations of analytical mechanics. Intuitively, it says that the acceleration of a constrained physical system will be as similar as possible to that of the corresponding unconstrained system.

## Statement

The principle of least constraint is a least squares principle stating that the true accelerations of a mechanical system of $n$ masses is the minimum of the quantity

$Z\,{\stackrel {\mathrm {def} }{=}}\sum _{j=1}^{n}m_{j}\cdot \left|\,{\ddot {\mathbf {r} }}_{j}-{\frac {\mathbf {F} _{j}}{m_{j}}}\right|^{2}$ where the jth particle has mass $m_{j}$ , position vector $\mathbf {r} _{j}$ , and applied non-constraint force $\mathbf {F} _{j}$ acting on the mass.

The notation ${\dot {\mathbf {r} }}$ indicates time derivative of a vector function $\mathbf {r} (t)$ , i.e. position. The corresponding accelerations ${\ddot {\mathbf {r} }}_{j}$ satisfy the imposed constraints, which in general depends on the current state of the system, $\{\mathbf {r} _{j}(t),{\dot {\mathbf {r} }}_{j}(t)\}$ .

It is recalled the fact that due to active $\mathbf {F} _{j}$ and reactive (constraint) $\mathbf {F_{c}} _{j}$ forces being applied, with resultant $\mathbf {R} =\sum _{j=1}^{n}\mathbf {F} _{j}+\mathbf {F_{c}} _{j}$ , a system will experience an acceleration ${\ddot {\mathbf {r} }}=\sum _{j=1}^{n}{\frac {\mathbf {F} _{j}}{m_{j}}}+{\frac {\mathbf {F_{c}} _{j}}{m_{j}}}=\sum _{j=1}^{n}\mathbf {a} _{j}+\mathbf {a_{c}} _{j}$ .

### Connections to other formulations

Gauss's principle is equivalent to D'Alembert's principle.

The principle of least constraint is qualitatively similar to Hamilton's principle, which states that the true path taken by a mechanical system is an extremum of the action. However, Gauss's principle is a true (local) minimal principle, whereas the other is an extremal principle.

## Hertz's principle of least curvature

Hertz's principle of least curvature is a special case of Gauss's principle, restricted by the two conditions that there are no externally applied forces, no interactions (which can usually be expressed as a potential energy), and all masses are equal. Without loss of generality, the masses may be set equal to one. Under these conditions, Gauss's minimized quantity can be written

$Z=\sum _{j=1}^{n}\left|{\ddot {\mathbf {r} }}_{j}\right|^{2}$ The kinetic energy $T$ is also conserved under these conditions

$T\ {\stackrel {\mathrm {def} }{=}}\ {\frac {1}{2}}\sum _{j=1}^{n}\left|{\dot {\mathbf {r} }}_{j}\right|^{2}$ Since the line element $ds^{2}$ in the $3N$ -dimensional space of the coordinates is defined

$ds^{2}\ {\stackrel {\mathrm {def} }{=}}\ \sum _{j=1}^{n}\left|d\mathbf {r} _{j}\right|^{2}$ the conservation of energy may also be written

$\left({\frac {ds}{dt}}\right)^{2}=2T$ Dividing $Z$ by $2T$ yields another minimal quantity

$K\ {\stackrel {\mathrm {def} }{=}}\ \sum _{j=1}^{n}\left|{\frac {d^{2}\mathbf {r} _{j}}{ds^{2}}}\right|^{2}$ Since ${\sqrt {K}}$ is the local curvature of the trajectory in the $3n$ -dimensional space of the coordinates, minimization of $K$ is equivalent to finding the trajectory of least curvature (a geodesic) that is consistent with the constraints.

Hertz's principle is also a special case of Jacobi's formulation of the least-action principle.