This article presents the results of numerical and experimental modal analyses of a planar four-bar (4R) mechanism having three dimensional geometry due to the offsets between its links. An experimental mechanism is built and modern modal testing techniques are used. A five-node isoparametric finite element is developed and used to model the mass and flexibility of the links and joints, link offsets, and drive and load shafts. The results obtained from the finite element solution matched closely the experimental results, a testimony to the accuracy of the proposed element. The results indicated that link offsets have considerable influence on the dynamic characteristics of a mechanism system and should be considered in dynamic modeling of planar mechanisms.

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