Modeling & Simulation, Testing & Validation (MSTV)


by Michael Wallin; Ahmed K. Aboubakr; Paramsothy Jayakumar; Michael D. Letherwood; Ahmed A. Shabana1


This paper is focused on the dynamic formulation of mechanical joints using different approaches that lead to different models with different numbers of degrees of freedom. Some of these formulations allow for capturing the joint deformations using discrete elastic model while the others are continuum-based and capture joint deformation modes that cannot be captured using the discrete elastic joint models. Specifically, three types of joint formulations are considered in this investigation; the ideal, compliant discrete element, and compliant continuumbased joint models. The ideal joint formulation, which does not allow for deformation degrees of freedom in the case of rigid body or small deformation analysis, requires introducing a set of algebraic constraint equations that can be handled in computational multibody system (MBS) algorithms using two fundamentally different approaches: constrained dynamics approach and penalty method. When the constrained dynamics approach is used the constraint equations must be satisfied at the position, velocity, and acceleration levels. The penalty method, on the other hand, cannot ensure that the algebraic equations are satisfied at the acceleration level. In the compliant discrete element joint formulation, no constraint conditions are used; instead the connectivity conditions between bodies are enforced using forces that can be defined in their most general form in MBS algorithms using bushing elements that allow for the definition of general nonlinear forces and moments. The new compliant continuum-based joint formulation, which is based on the finite element (FE) absolute nodal coordinate formulation (ANCF), has several advantages: (1) It captures modes of joint deformations that cannot be captured using the compliant discrete joint models; (2) It leads to linear connectivity conditions, thereby allowing for the elimination of the dependent variables at a preprocessing stage; (3) It leads to a constant inertia matrix in the case of chain like structure; and (4) It automatically captures the deformation of the bodies using distributed inertia and elasticity. The formulations of these three different joint models are compared in order to shed light on the fundamental differences between them. Numerical results of a detailed tracked vehicle model are presented in order to demonstrate the implementation of some of the formulations discussed in this investigation.