A new procedure for dynamic analysis of complex structures, based on the fictitious-mass component mode synthesis method, is presented. Normal modes of separate components are calculated by finite-element analysis with the interface coordinates loaded with fictitious masses that generate local boundary deformations in the low-frequency modes. The original fictitious-mass method is extended to include three types of component interconnections: displacement constraints, connection elements, and structural links. The connection elements allow the introduction of springs and dampers between the interface points without adding structural degrees of freedom. The structural links facilitate the inclusion the discrete finite-element representation of typically small components in the coupling equations. This allows a convenient treatment of loose elements and the introduction of nonlinear effects and parametric studies in subsequent analyses. The new procedure is demonstrated with the structural model of a typical vehicle with four major substructures and a relatively large number of interface coordinates. High accuracy is obtained in calculating the natural frequencies and modes of the assembled structure and the separate components with the fictitious masses removed. Dynamic response analysis of the vehicle travelling over a rough road, performed by modal coupling, is in excellent agreement with that performed for the full model.

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