In this investigation, the dynamic stresses of the chains of three-dimensional tracked vehicles are examined. The numerical procedure developed in this investigation integrates classical constrained multibody dynamics methods with finite element capabilities. The nonlinear equations of motion of the three-dimensional tracked vehicle model in which the track links are considered flexible bodies, are obtained using the floating frame of reference formulation. Contact force models are used to describe the interaction of the track links with the vehicle components and the ground. A detailed three-dimensional finite element model is developed for the track link. The finite element model is first utilized to predict the natural frequencies and mode shapes of the track link. The natural frequencies obtained numerically by using the finite element method are verified experimentally by using a modal identification technique. A partially linearized set of dynamic equations is developed based on the floating frame of reference formulation to study the motion of the flexible links and to predict their forces. The results of the dynamic stress analysis of the track links are presented, and the differences between these results and the results obtained by using the static stress analysis are demonstrated.

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