This study investigates the effect of link flexibility on the dynamic stability of a two-link force-controlled robot manipulator. The nonlinear open-loop equations for the compliant motion are derived first. By employing the hybrid force/position control law, the closed-loop dynamic equations are then explicitly derived. The nonlinear closed-loop equations are linearized about some equilibrium configurations. Stability analyses are carried out by computing the eigenvalues of the linearized system equations. Results are verified by the numerical simulations using the complete nonlinear dynamic equations. The effect of the wrist force sensor stiffness on the dynamic stability is also investigated. Results show that the link flexibility is indeed an important source of dynamic instability in the motion of force-controlled manipulators. Moreover, the system stability is dominated by the effect of the distributed flexibility of the first link.

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