Mechanics with variable-order differential operators



This work presents the novel concept of Variable-Order (VO) Calculus through the description of a simple problem in Mechanics. A mathematical definition for the VO-differential operator that is suitable to mechanical modelling is proposed, and an example concerning the effect of nonuniform viscoelastic frictional forces is described. A numerical method for the solution of Variable Order Differential Equations (VODEs) is proposed. The physical model under study requires mathematical tools that lie beyond the traditional methods of Constant-Order (CO) differential equations. The VO-Calculus formulation is compared to a CO-Calculus model in order to show the limitations of the latter in resolving the transition between the relevant dynamic regimes.