Elena Celledoni, Niklas Sæfstrøm

A symmetric splitting method for rigid body dynamics

It has been known since the time of Jacobi that the solution of the free rigid body FRB equations of motion is given in terms of a certain type of elliptic functions. Using the Arithmetic-Geometric mean algorithm these functions can be calculated efficiently and accurately. The overall approach yield a faster and more accurate numerical solution to the FRB equations compared to standard numerical integrators and symplectic solvers. In this paper we investigate the possibility of extending this approach to the case of rigid bodies subject to external forces. By using a splitting strategy, we decompose the vector field of our problem in a FRB problem and another completely integrable vector field. We apply the new method to the simulation of the heavy top.