This paper presents a new approach for linearization of large multibody dynamic systems. The approach uses an analytical differentiation of terms evaluated in a numerical equation formulation. This technique is more efficient than finite difference and eliminates the need to determine finite difference pertubation values. Because the method is based on a relative coordinate formalism, linearizations can be obtained for equilibrium configurations with non-zero Cartesian accelerations. Examples illustrate the accuracy and efficiency of the algorithm, and its ability to compute linearizations for large-scale systems that were previously impossible.

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