D'Alembert's principle, also known as the Lagrange–d'Alembert principle, is a statement of the fundamental classical laws of motion. It is named after its discoverer, the French

physicist
A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe.
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and mathematician
A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in their work, typically to solve mathematical problems.
Mathematicians are concerned with numbers, data, quantity, structure, space, models, and change.
History
...

Jean le Rond d'Alembert
Jean-Baptiste le Rond d'Alembert (; ; 16 November 1717 – 29 October 1783) was a French mathematician, mechanician, physicist, philosopher, and music theorist. Until 1759 he was, together with Denis Diderot, a co-editor of the ''Encyclopédi ...

. D'Alembert's principle generalizes the principle of virtual work from static to dynamical system
In mathematics, a dynamical system is a system in which a function describes the time dependence of a point in an ambient space. Examples include the mathematical models that describe the swinging of a clock pendulum, the flow of water in ...

s by introducing ''forces of inertia'' which, when added to the applied forces in a system, result in ''dynamic equilibrium''.
The principle does not apply for irreversible displacements, such as sliding friction
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:
*Dry friction is a force that opposes the relative lateral motion of ...

, and more general specification of the irreversibility is required. D'Alembert's principle is more general than Hamilton's principle as it is not restricted to holonomic constraints that depend only on coordinates and time but not on velocities.
Statement of the principle

The principle states that the sum of the differences between theforce
In physics, a force is an influence that can change the motion of an object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (e.g. moving from a state of rest), i.e., to accelerate. Force can also be described intuitively as a ...

s acting on a system of massive particles and the time derivative
In mathematics, the derivative of a function of a real variable measures the sensitivity to change of the function value (output value) with respect to a change in its argument (input value). Derivatives are a fundamental tool of calculus. ...

s of the momenta
Momenta is an autonomous driving company headquartered in Beijing, China that aims to build the 'Brains' for autonomous vehicles.
In December 2021, Momenta and BYD established a 100 million yuan ($15.7 million) joint venture to deploy autonomous ...

of the system itself projected onto any virtual displacement consistent with the constraints of the system is zero. Thus, in mathematical notation, d'Alembert's principle is written as follows,
$$\backslash sum\_i\; (\; \backslash mathbf\; F\_i\; -\; m\_i\; \backslash dot\backslash mathbf\_i\; -\; \backslash dot\_i\backslash mathbf\_i)\backslash cdot\; \backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i\; =\; 0,$$
where:
* $i$ is an integer used to indicate (via subscript) a variable corresponding to a particular particle in the system,
* $\backslash mathbf\; \_i$ is the total applied force (excluding constraint forces) on the $i$-th particle,
* $m\_i$ is the mass of the $i$-th particle,
* $\backslash mathbf\; v\_i$ is the velocity of the $i$-th particle,
* $\backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i$ is the virtual displacement of the $i$-th particle, consistent with the constraints.
Newton's dot notation is used to represent the derivative with respect to time. The above equation is often called d'Alembert's principle, but it was first written in this variational form by Joseph Louis Lagrange
Joseph-Louis Lagrange (born Giuseppe Luigi Lagrangiageneralized forces $\backslash mathbf\; Q\_j$ need not include constraint forces. It is equivalent to the somewhat more cumbersome Gauss's principle of least constraint.

{{DEFAULTSORT:D'alembert'S Principle
Classical mechanics
Dynamical systems
Lagrangian mechanics
Principles

Derivations

General case with variable mass

The general statement of D'Alembert's principle mentions "the timederivative
In mathematics, the derivative of a function of a real variable measures the sensitivity to change of the function value (output value) with respect to a change in its argument (input value). Derivatives are a fundamental tool of calculus. ...

s of the momenta
Momenta is an autonomous driving company headquartered in Beijing, China that aims to build the 'Brains' for autonomous vehicles.
In December 2021, Momenta and BYD established a 100 million yuan ($15.7 million) joint venture to deploy autonomous ...

of the system." By Newton's second law, the first time derivative of momentum is the force. The momentum of the $i$-th mass is the product of its mass and velocity:
$$\backslash mathbf\; p\_i\; =\; m\_i\; \backslash mathbf\; v\_i$$
and its time derivative is
$$\backslash dot\_i\; =\; \backslash dot\_i\; \backslash mathbf\_i\; +\; m\_i\; \backslash dot\_i.$$
In many applications, the masses are constant and this equation reduces to
$$\backslash dot\_i\; =\; m\_i\; \backslash dot\_i\; =\; m\_i\; \backslash mathbf\_i.$$
However, some applications involve changing masses (for example, chains being rolled up or being unrolled) and in those cases both terms $\backslash dot\_i\; \backslash mathbf\_i$ and $m\_i\; \backslash dot\_i$ have to remain present, giving
$$\backslash sum\_\; (\; \backslash mathbf\; \_\; -\; m\_i\; \backslash mathbf\_i\; -\; \backslash dot\_i\; \backslash mathbf\_i)\backslash cdot\; \backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i\; =\; 0.$$
Special case with constant mass

Consider Newton's law for a system of particles of constant mass, $i$. The total force on each particle is $$\backslash mathbf\; \_^\; =\; m\_i\; \backslash mathbf\; \_i,$$ where * $\backslash mathbf\; \_^$ are the total forces acting on the system's particles, * $m\_i\; \backslash mathbf\; \_i$ are the inertial forces that result from the total forces. Moving the inertial forces to the left gives an expression that can be considered to represent quasi-static equilibrium, but which is really just a small algebraic manipulation of Newton's law: $$\backslash mathbf\; \_^\; -\; m\_i\; \backslash mathbf\; \_i\; =\; \backslash mathbf\; 0.$$ Considering the virtual work, $\backslash delta\; W$, done by the total and inertial forces together through an arbitrary virtual displacement, $\backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i$, of the system leads to a zero identity, since the forces involved sum to zero for each particle. $$\backslash delta\; W\; =\; \backslash sum\_\; \backslash mathbf\; \_^\; \backslash cdot\; \backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i\; -\; \backslash sum\_\; m\_i\; \backslash mathbf\_i\; \backslash cdot\; \backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i\; =\; 0$$ The original vector equation could be recovered by recognizing that the work expression must hold for arbitrary displacements. Separating the total forces into applied forces, $\backslash mathbf\; F\_i$, and constraint forces, $\backslash mathbf\; C\_i$, yields $$\backslash delta\; W\; =\; \backslash sum\_\; \backslash mathbf\; \_\; \backslash cdot\; \backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i\; +\; \backslash sum\_\; \backslash mathbf\; \_\; \backslash cdot\; \backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i\; -\; \backslash sum\_\; m\_i\; \backslash mathbf\_i\; \backslash cdot\; \backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i\; =\; 0.$$ If arbitrary virtual displacements are assumed to be in directions that are orthogonal to the constraint forces (which is not usually the case, so this derivation works only for special cases), the constraint forces don't do any work, $\backslash sum\_\; \backslash mathbf\; \_\; \backslash cdot\; \backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i\; =\; 0$. Such displacements are said to be ''consistent'' with the constraints. This leads to the formulation of ''d'Alembert's principle'', which states that the difference of applied forces and inertial forces for a dynamic system does no virtual work: $$\backslash delta\; W\; =\; \backslash sum\_\; (\; \backslash mathbf\; \_\; -\; m\_i\; \backslash mathbf\_i\; )\backslash cdot\; \backslash delta\; \backslash mathbf\; r\_i\; =\; 0.$$ There is also a corresponding principle for static systems called the principle of virtual work for applied forces.D'Alembert's principle of inertial forces

D'Alembert showed that one can transform an accelerating rigid body into an equivalent static system by adding the so-called "inertial force
A fictitious force is a force that appears to act on a mass whose motion is described using a non-inertial frame of reference, such as a linearly accelerating or rotating reference frame.
It is related to Newton's second law of motion, which tre ...

" and " inertial torque" or moment. The inertial force must act through the center of mass and the inertial torque can act anywhere. The system can then be analyzed exactly as a static system subjected to this "inertial force and moment" and the external forces. The advantage is that in the equivalent static system one can take moments about any point (not just the center of mass). This often leads to simpler calculations because any force (in turn) can be eliminated from the moment equations by choosing the appropriate point about which to apply the moment equation (sum of moments = zero). Even in the course of Fundamentals of Dynamics and Kinematics of machines, this principle helps in analyzing the forces that act on a link of a mechanism when it is in motion. In textbooks of engineering dynamics, this is sometimes referred to as ''d'Alembert's principle''.
Dynamic equilibrium

D'Alembert's form of the principle of virtual work states that a system of rigid bodies is in dynamic equilibrium when the virtual work of the sum of the applied forces and the inertial forces is zero for any virtual displacement of the system. Thus, dynamic equilibrium of a system of $n$ rigid bodies with $m$ generalized coordinates requires $$\backslash delta\; W\; =\; \backslash left(Q\_1\; +\; Q\_1^*\backslash right)\; \backslash delta\; q\_1\; +\; \backslash dots\; +\; \backslash left(Q\_m\; +\; Q\_m^*\backslash right)\; \backslash delta\; q\_m\; =\; 0,$$ for any set of virtual displacements $\backslash delta\; q\_j$ with $Q\_j$ being a generalized applied force and $Q^*\_j$ being a generalized inertia force. This condition yields $m$ equations, $$Q\_j\; +\; Q^*\_j\; =\; 0,\; \backslash quad\; j=1,\; \backslash ldots,\; m,$$ which can also be written as $$\backslash frac\; \backslash frac\; -\backslash frac\; =\; Q\_j,\; \backslash quad\; j=1,\backslash ldots,m.$$ The result is a set of m equations of motion that define the dynamics of the rigid body system.References