The pendulum


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Contact: F.X.Timmes
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Referring to the diagram in the upper left, the pendulum obeys the conservation of angular momentum \begin{equation} \ddot{\theta} + g/l \ \sin(\theta) = 0 \hskip 0.5in \theta(t_0) = \theta_0 \hskip 0.5in \dot{\theta}(t_0) = \dot{\theta}_0 \ . \label{eq1} \tag{1} \end{equation} The analytical solution when the pendulum has enough energy to swing over is \begin{equation} \begin{split} A & = {\rm sgn}(\dot{\theta}) k \omega [t - t_0] + F(\sin^{-1}(k_0),\kappa) \\ \theta & = 2 \sin^{-1}({\rm sn}(A,\kappa)) \cdot {\rm sgn}({\rm cn}(A,\kappa)) \\ \dot{\theta} & = {\rm sgn}(\dot{\theta}) \ \sqrt{E_0} \ {\rm dn}(A,\kappa) \end{split} \label{eq2} \tag{2} \end{equation} where \begin{equation} \begin{split} {\rm sgn}(\zeta) & = 1 \ {\rm for} \ \zeta \ge 0 \ ; -1 \ {\rm for} \ \zeta \lt 0 \hskip 0.55in {\rm ! \ signum \ function } \\ \omega & = \sqrt{g / l} \hskip 2.3in {\rm ! \ angular \ frequency} \\ k_0 & = \sin(\theta_0 / 2) \hskip 1.95in {\rm ! \ sine \ half \ angle} \\ E_p & = 4 \omega^2 \hskip 2.45in {\rm ! \ maximum \ potential \ energy} \\ E_0 & = \dot{\theta}_0^2 + E_p \sin^2(\theta_0) \hskip 1.35in {\rm ! \ total \ energy } \\ k & = \sqrt{E_0 / E_p} \ge 1\\ \kappa & = 1/k \end{split} \label{eq3} \tag{3} \end{equation} $g$ is the gravitational acceleration, $F(\phi,m)$ is the Legendre form of the first incomplete elliptic integral, and ${\rm sn}(u,m)$, ${\rm cn}(u,m)$, and ${\rm dn}(u,m)$ are the Jacobi elliptic functions.

The solution when the pendulum does not have enough energy to swing over (now $k \le 1$ and $\kappa \gt 1$) is found by swapping $k$ and $\kappa$ in the above expressions, and applying properties of the Jabobi elliptic functions: \begin{equation} \begin{split} A & = {\rm sgn}(\dot{\theta}) \omega [t - t_0] + F(\sin^{-1}(\kappa k_0),k) \\ \theta & = 2 \sin^{-1}(k \ {\rm sn}(A,\kappa)) \\ \dot{\theta} & = {\rm sgn}(\dot{\theta}) \ \sqrt{E_0} \ {\rm cn}(A,\kappa) \end{split} \label{eq4} \tag{4} \end{equation} The tool pendulum.tbz implements this complete analytical solution to the classic nonlinear pendulum. The solution is valid for any initial conditions and holds if the pendulum swings over or not.


Phase diagram of the pendulum.


Family of $\theta$ (red hues) and $\dot{\theta}$ (blue hues) solutions for $E_0 \lt E_p$ (pendulum does not swing over).

Please cite the relevant references if you publish a piece of work that use these codes, pieces of these codes, or modified versions of them. Offer co-authorship as appropriate.