A finite-element-based method is developed and applied for geometrically nonlinear dynamic analysis of spatial mechanical systems. Vibration and static correction modes are used to account for linear elastic deformation of components. Boundary conditions for vibration and static correction mode analysis are defined by kinematic constraints between components of a system. Constraint equations between flexible bodies are derived and a Lagrange multiplier formulation is used to generate the coupled large displacement-small deformation equations of motion. A standard, lumped mass finite-element structural analysis code is used to generate deformation modes and deformable body mass and stiffness information. An intermediate-processor is used to calculate time-independent terms in the equations of motion and to generate input data for a large-scale dynamic analysis code that includes coupled effects of geometric nonlinearity and elastic deformation. Two examples are presented and the effects of deformation mode selection on dynamic prediction are analyzed.

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