Can transient simulation efficiently reproduce well known nonlinear effects of jointed structures?

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Although joints are omnipresent in engineering structures, their proper consideration in simulations is still a challenging area of research. This is because joints introduce local nonlinearities which lead to load and preload-dependent resonance frequencies and damping, mode coupling, high variability of contact area and contact pressures. The knowledge about those phenomena has been gathered via systematic experimental testing. A meaningful digital or virtual replication of such tests would require a transient numerical time integration, where besides all dynamic effects, the local and fine discretized nonlinear contact and friction forces in the joint also need to be considered. The Finite Element Method can only provide this theoretically since the necessary computation times make practical use almost impossible. Newer methods, where the joint deformation is represented via so-called contact modes instead of nodal degrees of freedom, offer a perspective for transient virtual tribomechadynamics. This paper is devoted to the following question: Is it possible for the first time to numerically reproduce real experiments with low computing times so that the previously mentioned nonlinear effects can be observed? In this work the transient numerical response of a jointed structure due to different loads (sine sweep, sine, step and impulse) is evaluated and related to measurements. The application of the Hilbert Transform to the time data, as known from measurements, reveals load and preload dependent eigenfrequency and damping. Other measured phenomena like mode coupling, a high variability in the contact area and resulting contact force can also be observed numerically. The results are in good qualitative agreement with the experiments. This work proves the principal capability of virtual tribomechadynamics as an efficient complement to real testing for gaining deeper insight. All the powerful measurement methods can directly be applied to simulated data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110111
Number of pages19
JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
Issue number190
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Bolted joint
  • Modal coupling
  • Nonlinear systems
  • Time Integration


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