A general description of the dynamics of a deformable body experiencing large displacements is presented. These displacements are resolved into displacements due to deformation and displacements due to rigid body motion. The former are approximated with a linear combination of assumed displacement fields. D’Alembert’s principle is used to derive the equations of motion. For this purpose, the rigid body displacements and the displacements due to deformation have to be independent. Commonly employed conditions for achieving this are reviewed. It is shown that some conditions lead to considerably simpler equations of motion and a sparser mass matrix, resulting in CPU time savings when used in a multibody program. This is illustrated with a uniform beam and a crank-slider mechanism.

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