A variational principle is presented which provides the basis for developing the equations governing the coupled thermoelastic response of planar flexible mechanism systems subjected to both mechanical and thermal loading. These systems are modeled as chains of continua with anisotropic elastic constitutive equations. By permitting arbitrary independent variations of the system parameters for each link, approximate equations of motion and boundary conditions may be systematically constructed. As an illustrative example, the derivation of the problem definition of a flexible connecting rod of a slider crank mechanism subjected to thermal shock is presented.

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