Reduction of Physical and Constraint Degrees-of-Freedom of Redundant Formulated Multibody Systems

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Commercial multibody system simulation (MBS) tools commonly use a redundant coordinate formulation as part of their modeling strategy. Such multibody systems subject to holonomic constraints result in second-order d-index three differential algebraic equation (DAE) systems. Due to the redundant formulation and a priori estimation of possible flexible body coordinates, the model size increases rapidly with the number of bodies. Typically, a considerable number of constraint equations (and physical degrees-of-freedom (DOF)) are not necessary for the structure's motion but are necessary for its stability like out-of-plane constraints (and DOFs) in case of pure in-plane motion. We suggest a combination of both, physical DOF and constraint DOF reduction, based on proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) using DOF-type sensitive velocity snapshot matrices. After a brief introduction to the redundant multibody system, a modified flat Galerkin projection and its application to index-reduced systems in combination with POD are presented. The POD basis is then used as an identification tool pointing out reducible constraint equations. The methods are applied to one academic and one high-dimensional practical example. Finally, it can be reported that for the numerical examples provided in this work, more than 90% of the physical DOFs and up to 60% of the constraint equations can be omitted. Detailed results of the numerical examples and a critical discussion conclude the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Article number031010
JournalJournal of computational and nonlinear dynamics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • POD
  • constraint reduction
  • flexible multibody simulations
  • model reduction


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