A method is presented for formulating and numerically integrating ordinary differential equations of motion for nonholonomically constrained multibody systems. Tangent space coordinates are defined in configuration and velocity spaces as independent generalized coordinates that serve as state variables in the formulation, yielding ordinary differential equations of motion. Orthogonal-dependent coordinates and velocities are used to enforce constraints at position, velocity, and acceleration levels. Criteria that assure accuracy of constraint satisfaction and well conditioning of the reduced mass matrix in the equations of motion are used as the basis for updating local coordinates on configuration and velocity constraint manifolds, transparent to the user and at minimal computational cost. The formulation is developed for multibody systems with nonlinear holonomic constraints and nonholonomic constraints that are linear in velocity coordinates and nonlinear in configuration coordinates. A computational algorithm for implementing the approach is presented and used in the solution of three examples: one planar and two spatial. Numerical results using a fifth-order Runge–Kutta–Fehlberg explicit integrator verify that accurate results are obtained, satisfying all the three forms of kinematic constraint, to within error tolerances that are embedded in the formulation.

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