The influence of the spherical joint with clearance caused by wear on the dynamics performance of spatial multibody system is predicted based on the Archard's wear model and equations of motion of multibody systems. First, the function of contact deformation and load acting on the spherical joint with clearance is derived based on the improved Winkler elastic foundation model and Hertz quadratic pressure distribution assumption. On this basis, considering the influence of clearance size and wear state on the contact stiffness between spherical joint elements, an improved contact force model is proposed by Lankarani–Nikravesh contact force model and improved stiffness coefficient that is the slope of the function of contact deformation and load. Second, due to the complexity for that wear impacts on the surface topography of contact bodies, an approximate calculation method of contact area with respect to the clearance spherical joint is provided for simplifying the computational process of contact pressure in the Archard's wear model. Subsequently, the contact pressure between contact bodies is calculated by the improved contact force model and approximate contact area (ICFM–ACA), which is verified via finite element method (FEM). Moreover, the dynamics model of spatial four bar mechanism considering spherical joint with clearance caused by wear is formulated using equations of motion of multibody systems. Finally, the wear depth of spherical joint with clearance is predicted via two different kinds of contact pressure based on the Archard's wear model (one is from the ICFM–ACA and the other is from FEM), respectively. The numerical simulation results show that the improved contact force model and proposed approximate contact area are correctness and validity for predicting wear in the spherical joint with clearance. Simultaneously, the effect of the spherical joint with clearance caused by wear on the dynamics performance of spatial four bar mechanism is analyzed.

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