A linear finite element (FE) analysis based on modal superposition techniques is often the tool of choice for response analysis of automobile and heavy machine sub-systems. Dynamic input loads cause various structures to vibrate and rattle, thereby inducing nonlinear interaction at the interfaces of these components. These nonlinear interactions cannot be modeled using a linear approach. On the other hand, fully nonlinear FE methods possess all the features that are required to capture nonlinear interactions but they demands enormous computation overhead for large system level models. A hybrid approach based on flexible multibody dynamics offers a viable solution to this problem. The system is divided into several sub-structures and each individual structure is represented as a separate flexible body. Modal superposition is used for each flexible body to reduce the size of the model. However, the interaction in-between various bodies or sub-structures is modeled using nonlinear force elements. Therefore, with this hybrid approach, the computation cost remains comparable to the linear FE method, without compromising the fidelity of the model.

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