The objective of this investigation is to develop a general nonlinear finite deformation formulation for the elastic-plastic analysis of flexible multibody systems. The Lagrangian plasticity theory based on J2 flow theory is used to account for the effect of plasticity in flexible multibody dynamics. In addition, it is demonstrated that the principle of objectivity that is an issue when existing finite element formulations using ratetype constitutive equations are used can be fully satisfied when the stress and strain rate are directly calculated in the Lagrangian descriptions using the absolute nodal coordinate formulation employed in this investigation. This is attributed to the fact that, in the finite element absolute nodal coordinate formulation, the position vector gradients can completely define the state of rotation and deformation within the element. As a consequence, the numerical algorithm used to determine the plastic deformations such as the Radial Return Algorithm becomes much simpler when the absolute nodal coordinate formulation is used as compared to existing finite element formulations that employ incrementally objective algorithms. Several numerical examples are presented in order to demonstrate the use of the formulations presented in the paper.

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