A new solution technique is developed for solving the moving mass problem for nonconservalive, linear, distributed parameter systems using complex eigenfunction expansions. Traditional Galerkin analysis of this problem using complex eigenfunctions fails in the limit of large numbers of terms because complex eigenfunctions are not linearly independent. This linear dependence problem is circumvented in the method proposed here by applying a modal constraint on the velocity of the distributed parameter system (Renshaw, 1997). This constraint is valid for all complete sets of eigenfunctions but must be applied with care for finite dimensional approximations of concentrated loads such as found in the moving mass problem. A set of real differential ordinary equations in time are derived which require exactly as much work to solve as Galerkin’s method with a set of real, linearly independent trial functions. Results indicate that the proposed method is competitive with traditional Galerkin’s method in terms of speed, accuracy and convergence.

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