Modeling of a light elastic beam by a system of rigid bodies

Slaviša Šalinić

This paper has shown that a light elastic beam, in the case of small elastic deformations, can be modeled by a kinematic chain without branching composed of rigid bodies which are connected by passive revolute or prismatic joints with corresponding springs in them. Elastic properties of the beam are modeled by the springs introduced. The potential energy of the elastic beam is expressed as a function of components of the vector of elastic displacement and the vector of elastic rotation calculated for the elastic centre of the beam, which results in the diagonal stiffness matrix of the beam. As the potential energy of the introduced system of bodies with springs is expressed in the function of relative joint displacements, the diagonal stiffness matrix is obtained. In addition, these two stiffness matrices are equal. The modeling process has been demonstrated on the example of an elastic beam rotating about a fixed vertical axis, with a rigid body whose mass is considerably larger than the beam mass fixed to its free end. Differential equations of motion have been formed for this mechanical system. The modeling technique described here aims at expanding of usage of well developed methods of dynamics of systems of rigid bodies to the analysis of systems with elastic bodies.