## Mechanical Integrators Derived from a Discrete Variational Principle

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@MISC{Wendlandt_mechanicalintegrators,

author = {Jeffrey M. Wendlandt and Jerrold E. Marsden},

title = {Mechanical Integrators Derived from a Discrete Variational Principle},

year = {}

}

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### Abstract

Many numerical integrators for mechanical system simulation are created by using discrete algorithms to approximate the continuous equations of motion. In this paper, we present a procedure to construct time-stepping algorithms that approximate the flow of continuous ODE's for mechanical systems by discretizing Hamilton's principle rather than the equations of motion. The discrete equations share similarities to the continuous equations by preserving invariants, including the symplectic form and the momentum map. We girst present a formulation of discrete mechanics along with a discrete variational principle. We then show that the resulting equations of motion preserve the symplectic form and that this formulation of mechanics leads to conservation laws from a discrete version of Noether's theorem. We then use the discrete mechanics formulation to develop a procedure for constructing mechanical integrators for continuous Lagrangian systems. We apply the construction procedure to the rigid body and the double spherical pendulum to demonstrate numerical properties of the integrators.