This paper deals with the motion of mechanical systems with non-ideal constraints, defined as constraints where the forces associated with the constraint do work. The first objective of the paper is to show that two newly published formulations of equations of motion of systems with such non-ideal constraints are unnecessarily complex for situations where the non-ideal constraint force does not depend on the ideal constraint force, because they introduce and then eliminate these non-working constraint forces. We point out that a method already exists for nonideal constraints, namely, Kane’s equations, which are simpler because, among other things, they are based on automatic elimination of non-working constraints. The examples considered in these recent publications are worked out with Kane’s method to show the applicability and simplicity of Kane’s method for non-ideal constraints. A second objective of the paper is to present an alternative form of equations for systems where the non-ideal constraint force depends on the ideal constraint force, as in the case of Coulomb friction. The formulation is shown to lend itself naturally to also analyzing impact dynamics. The method is applied to the dynamics of a slug moving against friction on a moving ellipsoidal surface. Such a crude model may simulate, in essence, propellant motion in a tank in zero-g, or during docking of a spacecraft.

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