Multibody Dynamics (MBD) are computerized simulations used to analyze the dynamic behavior of rigid and/or flexible interconnected bodies that are subjected to large displacements—both rotational and translational. They are regarded as the fundamental tools for modeling, designing and simulation of highly developed locomotion systems. MBD tools are well established and widely used for simulations of mechanisms and structures that have distinct geometric non-linearity, backlash, large deflections etc. Their motion is calculated on the basis of defined boundary conditions and applied loads in much shorter times. Quick calculations make MBD simulations very efficient and effective tools to study parameters and optimizations of complex assemblies with multiple degrees of freedom.
Multibody models are created on the basis of 3D CAD designs and drawings of parts and assemblies. The model gets divided into several units or bodies where each one has a separate and defined centre of gravity and mass, within the specialized MBD software. Joints that allow specific movements are use to interconnect the individual bodies. Properties such as friction, damping and stiffness are defined by the user to describe the characteristic behaviors of the joints. Simulation, analysis and optimization of the motion of the multibody can then be performed using numerical algorithms from this model. Results of MBD simulation are then processed by engineers to analyze and evaluate velocities, accelerations, movements, paths of movement and forces. MBD simulations are applied by engineers mostly in cases where dynamic forces or kinematic behavior of complex assemblies is the main area of assessment. The short time taken by MBD tools for calculations allows engineers to gain early insights on how design parameters affect the overall performance of a system. This provides them with the opportunity to make well-informed design choices at the early stages of the product development process. Application of MBD tools helps in significant cost savings by substantially reducing the lead times and extended hardware testing. MBD simulations are often coupled with other advanced analyses such as the extended integrity analysis of a part or assembly performed with FEA.
As discussed earlier, MBD is particularly useful in the analysis of complex systems which have many degrees of freedom. Common examples of these systems include automobiles such as cars, trucks and railways, and home appliances. MBD is used to efficiently evaluate and optimize all important aspects of these bodies including performance, safety and comfort. MBD is also applied in modeling the dynamics and kinematics of moving systems, enabling engineers to calculate, evaluate and visualize the forces and movements related to external factors of excitations. Information thus generated helps in effective optimization of dynamic behavior of the multibodies.
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