A computational method is developed for the finite-amplitude three-dimensional motion of inextensible elastic rods with equal principal stiffnesses. The method also applies to the two-dimensional motion of such rods with unequal principal stiffnesses. For these two classes of problems the equations of the classical theory of rods are reduced to a non-linear vector equation of motion together with the inextensibility condition and appropriate boundary and initial conditions. Consistent finite-difference approximations are introduced and a semi-explicit method of solution is devised. The approximate limitation for numerical stability of the method is shown to be the same as for the usual explicit method in linear beam dynamics. By way of example the method is applied to the free fall of a circular pipe through water onto a rigid plane from a suspended initial configuration.

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