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The Effect of the Contact Model on the Design of Mechanical Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
M. R. Brake, D. S. Aragon, D. J. VanGoethem, H. Sumali

Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM

Paper No. IMECE2012-85953, pp. 707-718; 12 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 4: Dynamics, Control and Uncertainty, Parts A and B
  • Houston, Texas, USA, November 9–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4520-2
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


Impact is a wide-spread phenomenon in mechanical systems that can have a significant effect on the system’s dynamics, stability, wear, and damage. The simulation of impact in complex, mechanical systems, however, is often too computationally intensive for high fidelity finite element analyses to be useful as design tools. As a result, rigid body dynamics and reduced order model simulations are often used, with the impact events modeled by ad hoc methods such as a constant coefficient of restitution or a penalty stiffness. The consequences of the choice of contact model are studied in this paper for a representative multiple-degrees of freedom mechanical system. Four contact models are considered in the analysis: a constant coefficient of restitution model, two similar elastic-plastic constitutive models, and one dissimilar elastic-plastic constitutive model. The predictions of wear, mechanical failure, and stability are assessed for each of the contact models, and the subsequent effect on the system design is investigated. These results emphasize the importance of choosing a realistic contact model when simulations are being used to drive the design of a system.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Design



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