I'm trying to better understand the manifold GL+(3,R)/S0(3) which is diffeomorphic to positive definite symmetric matrices. My motivation is to understand U in F = RU where F in GL+(3,R) = deformation gradient, R in S0(3), & U in GL+(3,R)/S0(3) = stretches & shears.

I think that:

(1) GL+(3,R)/SO(3) being diffeomorphic to SYMMETRIC positive definite matrices results from SO(3) not being SYMMETRIC.

(2) Any U in GL+(3,R)/SO(3) can be composed from the set of matrices consisting of all principal shears (identity matrices with 1 off-diag. non-zero entry), all principal stretches (diag. matrices with non-zero diag. entries), & the identity matrix.

(3) This set is not a group for reason given below.

An earlier discussion Shear transformations about shear transformations has been very helpful. It highlighted that:

(a) Any upper/lower triangular matrix with 1's on diag. is a composition of shears.

(b) Any matrix with det.= 1 including (a) but also S0(3) can be decomposed into upper/lower triangular matrices with 1's on diag..

(c) Given (b), shear transformations don't form a group as SO(3) not a shear but can be composed from shear transformations.

(d) Upper (or lower) triangular matrices with 1's on diag. (i.e. composed shears) are a group but obviously not containing ALL shears since lower (or upper) triangular shear matrices missing. And, I'm assuming, composing these two groups NOT a group as per (c).

So, I'm asking:

i) If my thoughts about GL+(3,R)/SO(3) in points (1) & (2) above are correct ?

ii) How, as in (b), can composing an upper & lower triangular matrix (both composed shears) result in a rotation in SO(3) ?

Sorry for such a long post !