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A multibody system is used to model the dynamic behavior of interconnected rigid or flexible bodies, each of which may undergo

large translational and rotational displacements.

 Introduction
The systematical treatment of the dynamic behavior of interconnected bodies has led to a large number of important multibody formalisms in the field of mechanics. The simplest bodies or elements of a multibody system were already treated by Newton (free particle) and Euler (rigid body). Euler already introduced reaction forces between bodies. Later on, a series of formalisms have been derived, only to mention Lagrange¶s formalisms based on minimal coordinates and a second formulation that introduces constraints. Basically, the motion of bodies is described by its kinematics behavior. The dynamic behavior results due to the equilibrium of applied forces and the rate of change in the momentum. Nowadays, the term multibody system is related to a large number of engineering fields of research, especially in robotics and vehicle dynamics. As an important feature, multibody system formalisms usually offer an algorithmic, computer-aided way to model, analyze, simulate and optimize the arbitrary motion of possibly thousands of interconnected bodies.

 Applications
While single bodies or parts of a mechanical system are studied in detailed with finite element methods, the behavior of the whole multibody system is usually studied with multibody system methods within the areas:
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Physics engine Robotics Vehicle simulation (vehicle dynamics, rapid prototyping of vehicles, improvement of stability, comfort optimization, improvement of efficiency, ...) Biomechanics Aerospace engineering (helicopter, landing gears, behavior of machines under different gravity conditions) Combustion engine, gears and transmissions, chain drive, belt drive Hoist, conveyor, paper mill Particle simulation (granular media, sand, molecules) Dynamic simulation Military applications

 Example
The following example shows a typical multibody system. It is usually denoted as slidercrank mechanism. The mechanism is used to transform rotational motion into translational motion by means of a rotating driving beam, a connection rod and a sliding body. In the present example, a flexible body is used for the connection rod. The sliding mass is not

implies 5 kinematical constraints. up-down and the rotation about the vertical axis. three of them translational degrees of freedom and three rotational degrees of freedom. only one relative rotation is allowed. the kinematical conditions lead to one degree of freedom for the whole system. While each body has six degrees of freedom in space. a wheel or axle in a car or the human forearm. The degrees of freedom are: left-right. An example of a body is the arm of a robot. a computer mouse.allowed to rotate and three revolute joints are used to connect the bodies. implies 3 kinematical constraints revolute joint. The motion of the mechanism can be viewed in the following gif animation  Concept A body is usually considered to be a rigid or flexible part of a mechanical system (not to be confused with the human body). The link is defined by certain (kinematical) constraints that restrict the relative motion of the bodies. implies 5 kinematical constraints There are two important terms in multibody systems: degree of freedom and constraint condition. constrains relative displacements in one point. A rigid body has six degrees of freedom in the case of general spatial motion. relative rotation is allowed. a body has only three degrees of freedom with only one rotational and two translational degrees of freedom.g. or a body with the ground. relative displacement along one axis is allowed. see the example above prismatic joint.  Degree of freedom The degrees of freedom denote the number of independent kinematical possibilities to move. The degrees of freedom in planar motion can be easily demonstrated using e. Typical constraints are: y y y spherical joint. A link is the connection of two or more bodies. constrains relative rotation. . In the case of planar motion.

There are furthermore possib ilities to constrain the relati e velocit bet een t o bodies or a body and the ground. The classical constraint is usuall an algebraic equation that defines the relati e translation or rotation bet een t o bodies. where the point of the disc that contacts the ground has always zero relative velocity with respect to the ground. the constraint condition is based on inequalities and therefore such a constraintdoes not permanently restrict the degrees of freedom of bodies. This is the case for the general rolling constraint. Usually the equations of motions are derived f om the Newton-Euler r equations or Lagrange¶s equations. The equations are written for general motion of the single bodies with the addition of constraint conditions. The motion of rigid bodies is described by means of (1) (2) This type of the equations of motion is based on so-called redundant coordinates. where represents translations and describes the rotations. because the equations use more coordinates than degrees of freedom of the underlying system. The name is because includes . This is for example the case of a rolling disc. In the case that the velocity constraint condition cannot be integrated in time in order to form a position constraint. where a point of a body is allowed to move along the surface of another body. it is called non -holonomic. Each multibody system formulation may lead to a different mathematical appearance of the equations of motion while the physics behind is the same. [edi Q drati vel ity vector In the case of rigid bodies. the mass matrix is represented by which may depend on the generalized coordinates. The motion of the co nstrained bodies is described by means of equations that result basically from Newton¶s second law. represents the constraint conditions and the matrix (sometimes termed the Jacobian) is the derivation of the constraint conditions with respect to the coordinates. In a rigid body. the so-called quadratic velocity vector is used to describe Coriolis and centrifugal terms in the equations of motion. In addition to that there are non -classical constraints that might even introduce a new unknown coordinate. The generalized coordinates are denoted by . possible coordinates could be split into two parts. The components of the vector are also denoted as Lagrange multipliers. [edi Eq i i The equations of motion are used to describe the dynamic behavior of a multibody system. such as a sliding joint.[edi i di i A const int condition i li s a restriction in t e kinematical degrees of freedom of one or more bodies. This matrix is used to apply constraint forces to the according equations of the bodies. In the case of contact.

This can be exemplified by the slider-crank mechanism shown above. redundant coordinates are used in order to make the systems user-friendly and flexible. Several algorithms have been developed for the derivation of minimal coordinate equations of motion. In very general multibody system formulations and computer codes. Computer-Aided Analysis of Mechanical Systems. the angle of the driving link as degree of freedom. K. Boston (1989). where each body has six degrees of freedom while most of the coordinates are dependent on the motion of the other bodies. the equation of motion could be also represented by means of one equation and one degree of freedom. While the reduced system might be solved more efficiently. The Lagrange multipliers do no "work" as compared to external forces that change the potential energy of a body. However. . meaning that the coordinates are not independent. 18 coordinates and 17 constraints could be used to describe the motion of the slider-crank with rigid bodies. E. Haug. which acts in ³direction´ of the constraint degree of freedom. Magnus. For example. Wittenburg. Prentice-Hall (1988). Dynamics of multibody systems. The latter formulation has then the minimum number of coordinates in order to describe the motion of the system and can be thus called a minimal coordinates formulation. The resulting equations are easier to be solved because in the absence of constraint conditions. Dynamics of Systems of Rigid Bodies.  Lagrange multipliers The Lagrange multiplier i is related to a constraint condition Ci = 0 and usually represents a force or a moment.E. as there is only one degree of freedom. to mention only the so-called recursive formulation. The transformation of redundant coordinates to minimal coordinates is sometimes cumbersome and only possible in the case of holonomic constraints and without kinematical loops. Nikravesh.  Minimal coordinates The equations of motion (1.J. Computer-Aided Kinematics and Dynamics of Mechanical Systems. Berlin (1978). Stuttgart (1977).  See also y y y y Flexible multibody systems (multibody systems where some bodies are flexible) Simulation of multibody systems (solution techniques) Dynamic simulation Physics engine  References y y y y J. Teubner. the transformation of the coordinates might be computationally expensive. Springer Verlag.2) are represented by means of redundant coordinates.quadratic terms of velocities and it results due to partial derivatives of the kinetic energy of the body. using e.g. Allyn and Bacon. P. standard time integration methods can be used to integrate the equations of motion in time.

Teubner. B.  External links y http://real. John Wiley & Sons (1998). G.A. García de Jalón. Pfeiffer. Stuttgart. Shabana. Wiley. Géradin. Eich-Soellner. Kinematic and Dynamic Simulation of Multibody Systems .The Real-Time Challenge. Bayo. A. M. 1998 (reprint Lund. Flexible multibody dynamics ± A finite element approach. Elastische Mehrkörpersysteme.uwaterloo. 2008). Bremer and F. Stuttgart. New York (1994). Dynamics of multibody systems. Numerical Methods in Multibody Dynamics. Teubner. New York (2001). Germany (1992). E. A.ca/~mbody/ (Collected links of John McPhee) . E. Springer-Verlag. J. Führer.y y y y y H. Cardona. C. Second Edition.