The paper presents an approach to linearize the set of index 3 nonlinear differential algebraic equations that govern the dynamics of constrained mechanical systems. The proposed method handles heterogeneous systems that might contain flexible bodies, friction, control elements (user-defined differential equations), and nonholonomic constraints. Analytically equivalent to a state-space formulation of the system dynamics in Lagrangian coordinates, the proposed method augments the governing equations and then computes a set of sensitivities that provide the linearization of interest. The attributes associated with the method are the ability to handle large heterogeneous systems, ability to linearize the system in terms of arbitrary user-defined coordinates, and straightforward implementation. The proposed approach has been released in the 2005 version of the MSC.ADAMS/Solver(C++) and compares favorably with a reference method previously available. The approach was also validated against MSC.NASTRAN and experimental results.

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