Journal of sound and vibration vol:266 issue:3 pages:515-534
The paper develops a systematic procedure for modelling linear flexible multibody structures of which the flexible parts are a composition of beams. The theory of mechanics of solids is fit into a general expression of virtual work, linking rigid-body motions with flexible deformations of the different bodies. A comparison is made with the finite element method for approximating the behaviour of the flexible bodies. It turns out that the discrete element method boils down to a particular selection of shape functions of which the mass matrix is inconsistent with the flexibility matrix. Furthermore, contrary to the finite element method, only point forces can be applied. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.