This book is devoted to the basic variational principles of mechanics: the Lagrange-D'Alembert differential variational principle and the Hamilton integral variational principle. These two variational principles form the main subject of contemporary analytical mechanics, and from them the whole colossal corpus of classical dynamics can be deductively derived as a part of physical theory. In recent years students and researchers of engineering and physics have begun to realize the utility of variational principles and the vast possi- bilities that they offer, and have applied them as a powerful tool for the study of linear and nonlinear problems in conservative and nonconservative dynamical systems. The present book has evolved from a series of lectures to graduate stu- dents and researchers in engineering given by the authors at the Depart- ment of Mechanics at the University of Novi Sad Serbia, and numerous foreign universities. The objective of the authors has been to acquaint the reader with the wide possibilities to apply variational principles in numerous problems of contemporary analytical mechanics, for example, the Noether theory for finding conservation laws of conservative and nonconservative dynamical systems, application of the Hamilton-Jacobi method and the field method suitable for nonconservative dynamical systems,the variational approach to the modern optimal control theory, the application of variational methods to stability and determining the optimal shape in the elastic rod theory, among others.
Introduction to Modern Variational Techniques in Mechanics and Engineering