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ERIC Number: EJ825970
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
A Variational Property of the Velocity Distribution in a System of Material Particles
Siboni, S.
European Journal of Physics, v30 n1 p209-216 Jan 2009
A simple variational property concerning the velocity distribution of a set of point particles is illustrated. This property provides a full characterization of the velocity distribution which minimizes the kinetic energy of the system for prescribed values of linear and angular momentum. Such a characterization is applied to discuss the kinetic energy dissipation in the sticking collision of free rigid bodies. Special cases are also examined where not all the components of linear and angular momentum are conserved, corresponding to rigid bodies with a common fixed point or axis without friction. As a byproduct, a formal property of the tensor of inertia is derived, not commonly considered in mechanics textbooks. Along with the variational property of the velocity distribution, such a formal property of the tensor of inertia may be interesting for graduate and advanced undergraduate students. (Contains 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A