As basic principles for deriving the equations of motion for dynamical systems, there are d’Alembert’s principle and the principle of virtual power. From the former Hamilton’s principle and Langage’s equations are derived, which are powerful tool for deriving the equation of motion of mechanical systems since they can give the equations of motion from the scalar energy quantities. When Hamilton’s principle is applied to nonholonomic systems, however, care has to be taken. In this paper, a unified approach for holonomic and nonholonomic systems is discussed based on the modified Hamilton’s principle. In the present approach, constraints for both of the holonomic and nonholonomic systems are expressed in terms of time derivative of the position, and their variations are treated similarly to the principle of virtual power, i.e. time and position are fixed in operation with respect to the variations. The approach is applied to a holonomic and a simple nonholonomic systems.

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