The theory and application of a classical Eulerian multibody code

D.I.M. Forehand, M.P. Cartmell, R. Khanin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The topic of multibody analysis deals with the automatic generation and subsequent solution of the equations of motion for a system of interconnected bodies. Many academic and industrial computer programs have been developed to carry out this task. However, although some of these programs can obtain the equations of motion in fully symbolic form, it is believed that all the existing programs for multibody analysis solve these equations numerically. The idea behind the research which underpins this paper is to select and implement a symbolic version of an existing multibody algorithm and then to integrate it with a recently developed solver which can obtain approximate analytical solutions to the equations of motion. The present paper deals with the selection of this multibody method. The theory behind the chosen method (the Roberson and Schwertassek algorithm) is described in some detail but also in a much more concise form than can be found in the literature. In addition, a fully worked example of the application of the multibody algorithm to a practical physical problem is given. Such examples are rare in the literature, and so it is intended that this paper can serve as a basis for enhanced didactic practice in this traditionally difficult subject area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-176
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Engineering Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2005


  • multibody analysis
  • Eulerian approach
  • graph theory
  • relative or joint coordinates
  • symbolic dynamic analysis


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