Analytical Dynamics of Variable-Mass Systems Academic Article uri icon


  • Copyright 2017 by C. Bombardelli. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission. The equations of motion for variable-mass systems are commonly assembled in part by adding reactive forces (that is, those terms that are a direct consequence of the mass variation) to other externally applied body and surface forces. A different approach is presented in this study, wherein the contributions from mass variation are naturally created from a proper kinematic development. Specifically, analytical dynamics is used to produce a few equivalent mathematical expressions, each of which is able to generate the governing equations of motion for variable-mass systems: one is similar to the Lagrange equations, another is similar to the Appell equations, and a third represents the Kane equations. The expressions allow one to apply the methods of analytical dynamics toward this class of systems.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics

author list (cited authors)

  • Hurtado, J. E.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Hurtado, John E

publication date

  • March 2018