The mode shapes, frequencies, and modal mass and stiffness coefficients of multibody systems such as tracked vehicles can be determined using experimental identification techniques. In multibody simulations, however, knowledge of the modal parameters of the individual components is required, and consequently, a procedure for extracting the component modes from the mode shapes of the assembled system must be used if experimental modal analysis techniques are to be used with general purpose multibody computer codes. In this investigation, modal parameters (modal mass, modal stiffness, modal damping, and mode shapes), which are determined experimentally, are employed to simulate the nonlinear dynamic behavior of a multibody tracked vehicle which consists of interconnected rigid and flexible components. The equations of motion of the vehicle are formulated in terms of a set of modal and reference generalized coordinates, and the theoretical basis for extracting the component modal parameters of the chassis from the modal parameters of the assembled vehicle is described. In this investigation, the track of the vehicle is modeled as a closed kinematic chain that consists of rigid links connected by revolute joints, and the effect of the chassis flexibility on the motion singularities of the track is examined numerically. These singularities which are encountered as the result of the change in the track configuration are avoided by using a deformable secondary joint instead of using the loop-closure equations.

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