A variational formulation is presented for the nonlinear finite element analysis of general planar mechanisms comprising assemblages of elastic bodies connected by revolute or sliding joints. A geometrically nonlinear theory is developed to describe the elastic behavior in the axial and flexural modes, and the model for the dynamical behavior includes inertial coupling terms linking the rigid-body and elastic kinematic motions. The formulation developed herein is employed to predict the elastodynamic response of experimental four bar linkages and slider crank mechanisms.

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