A finite element based dynamic modeling method for design analysis of flexible multibody systems
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This thesis develops a finite element based dynamic modeling method for design and analysis of compliant mechanisms which transfer input force, displacement and energy through elastic deformations. Most published analyses have largely based on quasi-static and lump-parameter models neglecting the effects of damping, torsion, complex geometry, and nonlinearity of deformable contacts. For applications such as handling of objects by the robotic hands with multiple high-damped compliant fingers, there is a need for a dynamic model capable of analyzing the flexible multibody system. This research begins with the formulation of the explicit dynamic finite element method (FEM) which takes into account the effects of damping, complex geometry and contact nonlinearity. The numerical stability is considered by evaluating the critical time step in terms of material properties and mesh quality. A general framework incorporating explicit dynamic FEM, topology optimization, modal analysis, and damping identification has been developed. Unlike previous studies commonly focusing on geometry optimization, this research considers both geometric and operating parameters for evaluation where the dynamic performance and trajectory of the multibody motion are particularly interested. The dynamic response and contact behavior of the rotating fingers acting on the fixed and moving objects are validated by comparing against published experimental results. The effectiveness of the dynamic modeling method, which relaxes the quasi-static assumption, has been demonstrated in the analyses of developing an automated transfer system involved grasping and handling objects by the compliant robotic hands. This FEM based dynamic model offers a more realistic simulation and a better understanding of the multibody motion for improving future design. It is expected that the method presented here can be applied to a spectrum of engineering applications where flexible multibody dynamics plays a significant role.