Generalized Coordinates

  • Reinhardt M. Rosenberg
Part of the Mathematical Concepts and Methods in Science and Engineering book series (MCSENG)


In our treatment of systems of n particles we have, in general, considered the configuration to be fixed by 3n = N Cartesian coordinates in configuration space. If the system is constrained by equality constraints we conclude that these constraints define either surfaces or elements of tangent planes to surfaces, and the point defining the configuration in the configuration space (or the point defining the state in state space) must lie in these surfaces. To mention a concrete example, a simple spherical pendulum consists of a particle that moves on the surface of a sphere. Therefore, three Cartesian coordinates define its position, but that position must be a point in the spherical surface.


Configuration Space Generalize Coordinate Nonholonomic Constraint Virtual Displacement Holonomic Constraint 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reinhardt M. Rosenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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