Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 2006 (2006), Article ID 25193, 22 pages

Investigation of a spatial double pendulum: an engineering approach

S. Bendersky and B. Sandler

Pearlstone Center for Aeronautical Engineering Studies, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 653, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel

Received 24 May 2005; Accepted 4 July 2005

Copyright © 2006 S. Bendersky and B. Sandler. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The behavior of a spatial double pendulum (SDP), comprising two pendulums that swing in different planes, was investigated. Movement equations (i.e., mathematical model) were derived for this SDP, and oscillations of the system were computed and compared with experimental results. Matlab computer programs were used for solving the nonlinear differential equations by the Runge-Kutta method. Fourier transformation was used to obtain the frequency spectra for analyses of the oscillations of the two pendulums. Solutions for free oscillations of the pendulums and graphic descriptions of changes in the frequency spectra were used for the dynamic investigation of the pendulums for different initial conditions of motion. The value of the friction constant was estimated experimentally and incorporated into the equations of motion of the pendulums. This step facilitated the comparison between the computed and measured oscillations.