The underlying dynamic model of multibody systems takes the form of a differential Complementarity Problem (dCP), which is nonsmooth and thus challenging to integrate. The dCP is typically solved by discretizing it in time, thus converting the simulation problem into the problem of solving a sequence of complementarity problems (CPs). Because the CPs are difficult to solve, many modelling options that affect the dCPs and CPs have been tested, and some reformulation and relaxation options affecting the properties of the CPs and solvers have been studied in the hopes to find the “best” simulation method. One challenge within the existing literature is that there is no standard set of benchmark simulations.

In this paper, we propose a framework of Benchmark Problems for Multibody Dynamics (BPMD) to support the fair testing of various simulation algorithms. We designed and constructed a BPMD database and collected an initial set of solution algorithms for testing. The data stored for each simulation problem is sufficient to construct the CPs corresponding to several different simulation design decisions. Once the CPs are constructed from the data, there are several solver options including the PATH solver, nonsmooth Newton methods, fixed-point iteration methods for nonlinear problems, and Lemke’s algorithm for linear problems. Additionally, a user-friendly interface is provided to add customized models and solvers.

As an example benchmark comparison, we use data from physical planar grasping experiments. Using the input from a physical experiment to drive the simulation, uncertain model parameters such as friction coefficients are determined. This is repeated for different simulation methods and the parameter estimation error serves as a measure of the suitability of each method to predict the observed physical behavior.

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