On the variational formulation of systems with non-holonomic constraints



In a previous article by the author, it was shown that one could effectively give a variational formulation to non-conservative mechanical systems by starting with the first variation functional instead of an action functional. In this article, it is shown that this same approach will also allow one to give a variational formulation to systems with non-holonomic constraints. The key is to use an adapted anholonomic local frame field in the formulation, which then implies the replacement of ordinary derivatives with covariant ones. The method is then applied to the case of a vertical disc rolling without slipping or friction on a plane.