I tried to resolve this in a notebook of Mathematica:

 DSolve[x[t]^2 (1 + x'[t]^2 - x[t] x''[t])/(2 (x[t]^2 (1 + x'[t]^2))^(3/2)) == 0, x[t], t]

And the results are:

    {{x[t] -> -((E^-C[1] Tanh[E^C[1] (t + C[2])])/
    Sqrt[-1 + Tanh[E^C[1] (t + C[2])]^2])}, 
    {x[t] -> (E^-C[1] Tanh[E^C[1] (t + C[2])])/
     Sqrt[-1 + Tanh[E^C[1] (t + C[2])]^2]}}

But if I run it on WolframAlpha the result is:

{{x[t]->1/2 e^(-e^(C[1]) t - 2 C[1] - e^(C[1]) C[2]) (e^(2 C[1]) + e^(2 e^(C[1]) (t + C[2])))}, 
{x[t]->1/2 (e^(-e^(C[1]) t - 2 C[1] - e^(C[1]) C[2]) + e^(e^(C[1]) t + e^(C[1]) C[2]))}}

And the 2nd ones are the correct results, I needed a real function meanwhile the 1st ones are complex functions. Why this happens? What assumptions make WolframAlpha in its input?

Thanks in advance

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Don't understand the question: Mma produces a true solution. For example, x[t]^2 (1 + x'[t]^2 - x[t] x''[t])/(2 (x[t]^2 (1 + x'[t]^2))^(3/2)) == 0 /. {x[t] -> -((E^-C[1] Tanh[E^C[1] (t + C[2])])/ Sqrt[-1 + Tanh[E^C[1] (t + C[2])]^2]), x'[t] -> D[-((E^-C[1] Tanh[E^C[1] (t + C[2])])/ Sqrt[-1 + Tanh[E^C[1] (t + C[2])]^2]), t], x''[t] -> D[-((E^-C[1] Tanh[E^C[1] (t + C[2])])/ Sqrt[-1 + Tanh[E^C[1] (t + C[2])]^2]), {t, 2}]} // FullSimplify produces True. $\endgroup$ – user64494 Jun 8 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah but I need real functions not complex functions and I've tried to tell Mathematica that t is Real etc but same result (I just don't know how to get the result of Wolfram Alpha) $\endgroup$ – Mike Jun 8 at 19:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ They look to be the same result with a different choice of C[1]. See ExpToTrig and TrigToExp for converting the exponentials to hyperbolic trig functions. If you can supply a real initial condition, I expect they'd match. Interestingly, MMA version 10.1 gets the solution you ascribed to Wolfram|Alpha. $\endgroup$ – eyorble Jun 8 at 20:53

Re: "Yeah but I need real functions not complex functions"--- Here's how to get the result of W|A:

sol = WolframAlpha[
   "DSolve[x[t]^2 (1+x'[t]^2-x[t] x''[t])/(2 (x[t]^2 (1+x'[t]^2))^(3/2))==0,x[t],t]",
   {{"Result", 1}, "Content"}];

Then either of these converts the formatted output to StandardForm:

sol // MakeBoxes[#, StandardForm] & // ToExpression    
sol // First // MakeExpression[#, StandardForm] & // ReleaseHold
{{x[t] -> 1/2 E^(-E^C[1] t - 2 C[1] - E^C[1] C[2]) (E^(2 C[1]) + E^(2 E^C[1] (t + C[2])))},
 {x[t] -> 1/2 (E^(-E^C[1] t - 2 C[1] - E^C[1] C[2]) + E^(E^C[1] t + E^C[1] C[2]))}}

Update: Mathematical Notes

(1.) By the way, the ODE is invariant under scalings $S(t,x)=(c_1t,c_1x)$ and translations $T(t,x)=(t+c_2,x)$. If you have a particular solution that is not itself invariant under them, such as $x_p = \cosh t$, you can use the transformations $S$ and $T$ to construct a general solution: $$x(t) = {1 \over c_1} \cosh(c_1 t + c_2)$$ (There is a form of the solution $x(t) = {i \over c_1} \sinh(c_1 t + c_2)$ that is complex-valued for real parameters, too, that passes through the singular locus $x = 0$ but cannot satisfy an IC with $\dot x = 0$; otherwise it overlaps the $\cosh$ solution.)

(2.) There are extraneous factors in the equation, x[t]^2 in the numerator and the entire denominator, that may be omitted, or dealt with separately.


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