From Newton's cradle to the discrete p-Schrödinger equation

Newton’s cradle


We investigate the dynamics of a chain of oscillators coupled by fully-nonlinear interaction potentials. This class of models includes Newton’s cradle with Hertzian contact interactions between neighbors. By means of multiple-scale analysis, we give a rigorous asymptotic description of small amplitude solutions over large times. The envelope equation leading to approximate solutions is a discrete p-Schrödinger equation. Our results include the existence of long-lived breather solutions to the original model. For a large class of localized initial conditions, we also estimate the maximal decay of small amplitude solutions over long times.

SIAM Journal on Mathematical Analysis, 45(6), 3404–3430 (2013)