Sie sind auf Seite 1von 311

Academic Program

Practical Aspects
Of Multi-Body Simulation with
Released 1/2015

1 Intention
This book intends to serve as a guide helping you to get started with Multi Body Dynamics Simulation (MBD). It is more a quick
reference to learn some of the basics - we deliberately refrain from theoretical discussions and too much math. Our emphasis is
on providing definitions with a minimum of equations or other mathematical notations combined with some practical tips on how
to successfully employ MotionView and MotionSolve (our MBD solution) in the course of your studies
Most of the material you will come across in this book is based on the HyperWorks Help Documentation, standard training
documents, webinars (videos), as well as tips and tricks which have been published earlier.
Learning MBD - Different Approaches
As (almost) always in life we do have different options to decide on. One approach to gain a command over the capabilities of MBD
tools is to focus on the theory, drawing comfort from the fact that a robust theory can be applied widely, provided the fine-print is
followed meticulously.
Another approach is to pick a specific application and pay attention to the assumptions and data specific to this application.
The use of general-purpose MBD software for CAE mirrors these approaches. At the theoretical level, all bodies can be modeled
using a few basic building blocks. At the applied level, each of these building blocks is adapted to the requirements of the specific
field. For instance pneumatics and hydraulics both use similar building blocks valves, pistons, etc. but the specific behaviors
of the fluids varies. In several industries this specific behavior is treated as intellectual property. It is fiercely guarded, since it
is arrived at over the course of much trial and error, and can make the critical difference between performance thats just good
enough and performance that makes the product a pleasure to use!
If the study of the approaches that MBD tools take seems overwhelming, you may like the quote of Mark Twain:

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming
tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

Analysis problems are solved using the divide-andrule approach: break down complex objects into
simpler blocks, and these into even simpler blocks,
and so on. The synthesis problems are solved by
starting with known blocks, and looking for ways to
put them together to achieve complex behaviors.
As the figure on the right depicts, any model is a part
of a larger system, and can in turn be broken into
smaller sub-systems all the way down to quantum

Simulation of component behavior is often done

using the Finite Element Method. Here, the analyst
requires the forces on the component as data for the
model. Simulation of system level behavior is best
done using the MBD approach.
Obviously, one benefit is that the forces calculated
from an MBD analysis can be used to provide data for a Finite Element analysis. However, there are other reasons that make this
a natural way to address several complex design issues.

For one, MBD models take a lumped approach. That is, the behavior of an arbitrarily complex component or assembly is
abstracted as a single element. The abstraction may represent a single rigid link, the suspension assembly of an automobile, or
the undercarriage of an aircraft. In all these cases, some accuracy is traded for speed of analysis. Where a Finite Element analysis
frequently requires minutes, if not hours or days of CPU time, an MBD analysis is often complete in seconds.
Next, simple MBD models are used to build more complex models. In an approach that follows the engineering practice of using
simple tools to build more complex tools, this provides the capability to quickly build complex models that yield useful results
without taking an inordinate amount of time.
In other words, we can start with simple systems and put these together to achieve remarkably useful simulations of very
complicated assemblies
An example of this approach is the construction of computer models for animated movies such as the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park
and its sequels. Designers concentrate on capturing an adequate behavior of selected joints, not on the body as a whole. Once
they have the individual joints behaving the way they want them to, they can assemble these to get the complete body and can
be sure that the assembly will move in a realistic fashion.

However, regardless which approach you will choose, which simulation tool you are going to employ for your studies and/or project,
keep in mind that like anything with CAE, Multi Body Simulation is a tool, and thus is only as good as the person who uses it.

To help you building up simulation experiences we offer many additional amendments such as:
The free HyperWorks 13.0 Student Edition which allows you to practice the various optimization techniques addressed
in this book.
Free study guides Practical Aspects of Finite Element Simulation & Practical Aspects of Structural Optimization
An extended set of E-Learning material (webinars and videos) and tutorials about HyperMesh, OptiStruct Basic, HyperStudy,
HyperView etc. available on the Academic Training Center (
Highly discounted seminars & workshops at colleges and/or at Altair facilities
An Altair moderated Academic Support Forum (
And much more ..

For more information please visit the Altair Academic Blog (
And now - get started and let us know whether this book helped you to successfully apply this fascinating technology to your
Best regards
Dr. Matthias Goelke
On behalf of The HyperWorks University Team


If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself

Henry Ford (1863 -1947)
A very special Thank You goes to:
Prakash Pagadala, Gitesh Porwal, Rajneesh Shinde, Nelson Dias, Srirangam R. Srirangarajan, Rahul Ponginan, Mahek Mody,
Apoorv Bapat, Varun Sharma, Reddaiah Tappeta, Ganesh Shanmugam (India)
Andrew Dyer, Keshav Sundaresh Elizabeth White, Sean Putman, Michael Roehrig, Christine Barret, Simone Bonino, John
Brink, Uwe Schramm, Ralph Krawczyk, Jeff Brennan, Lena Hanna David, Chayan Basak, Rajiv Rampalli, Jin-Fan (Jeff) Liu, Mike
White, Praful Prabhu, Fatma Kocer (USA)
DongHo Han, Moon Song-Soo (Korea)
Hossein Shakourzadeh (France)
Jacquelyn Quirk, Ponnaluri Kiran, Baljesh Mehmi, Pete Roberts (UK)
Jens Maehler, Jan Grasmannsdorf, Sascha Beuermann, Michael Hoffmann, Lutz Dobrowohl, Juergen Kranzeder (Germany)
Markus Kriesch and Andre Wehr (Universitt der Bundeswehr Mnchen / Germany)
The entire HyperWorks Documentation Team (Altair USA) for putting together 1000s of pages of documentation - Thank you
very much.
Lastly, the entire MotionView and MotionSolve development team deserves huge credit for creating such great software.

Every effort has been made to keep the book free from technical as well as other mistakes. However, publishers and authors will
not be responsible for loss, damage in any form and consequences arising directly or indirectly from the use of this book.
2015 Altair Engineering, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted,
transcribed, or translated to another language without the written permission of Altair Engineering, Inc. To obtain this permission, write to the attention Altair Engineering legal department at:
1820 E. Big Beaver, Troy, Michigan, USA, or call +1-248-614-2400.

HyperWorks For Teaching

Leading universities across the globe are using HyperWorks computer aided engineering (CAE) simulation software for teaching
and research in the fields of:

Structural Analysis
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
Multi-Body Dynamics (MBD)
Electromagnetic Analysis (EM)
Numerical methods & programming

Altair has commercial expertise to share with the academic community. By including real life scenarios in your teaching material,
Altair can help you add value to your engineering design courses.
Our unique licensing system allows universities to use the entire (full version) HyperWorks suite in a very flexible and cost efficient
way as sketched out below:
*Results may be used for marketing, training and/demo purposes

Teaching License


Entire Suite
No limitation on
model size

Student Edition

Freely accessible by
other teachers (same


Professor 2
Professor 3
Professor 4

Since teaching differs from campus to campus, and from region to region we are very interested to discuss your needs with you
on a personal level.
Please let us know your requirements by sending an e-mail notification to
We are more than happy helping and assisting you with your teaching activities.

Table Of Contents

1 Intention..................................................................................................................................... 2

HyperWorks For Teaching........................................................................................................ 5

Interviews with Multi-Body Simulation Experts.................................................................... 8

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?............................................................................... 10

4.1 Introduction........................................................................................................................................12

MBS Design And Analysis Process...................................................................................................17


The Principles Underlying MBS.........................................................................................................33


Industry Applications.........................................................................................................................43


Emerging Trends................................................................................................................................76

4.6 Conclusions........................................................................................................................................83
4.7 References.........................................................................................................................................84

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals............................................................................ 87


A General Overview On MBD (collection of videos) ........................................................................88


Constructing Models - Model Building.............................................................................................91


The MotionView Graphical User Interface .......................................................................................92


MotionView / MotionSolve Input And Output File Formats.............................................................94


Overview On Different Joint Definitions............................................................................................107

5.6 Expressions........................................................................................................................................127

Executing MotionSolve -The Run Panel ...........................................................................................141

5.8 Post-Processing..................................................................................................................................144

Example - Four Bar Mechanism........................................................................................................146

Modeling and Simulation Tips................................................................................................ 165

Tutorial: Spring-Mass Damping.............................................................................................. 170


Modeling In MotionView....................................................................................................................170

Tutorial: The Slider Crank Mechanism................................................................................... 181

Introduction In Flexible Bodies .............................................................................................. 205


Why Flexible Bodies?.........................................................................................................................205


What Is A Flexible Body?...................................................................................................................205


Component Mode Synthesis CMS Methods....................................................................................206


How To Choose The CMS Method? .................................................................................................207


Flexible File Generation Using MotionView FlexPrep And OptiStruct.............................................208


Tutorial: The Slider Crank Mechanism (With Flexible Con-Rod)........................................ 223


Load Extraction......................................................................................................................... 234


Demo - Motorcycle.................................................................................................................... 241


Contact Simulation................................................................................................................... 247


General Remarks & Overview...........................................................................................................247


Tutorial - Contact Modeling...............................................................................................................254


Vehicle Dynamics Through Multi-Body Dynamics (Students Motorsport)........................ 262

14.1 Introduction........................................................................................................................................262

Baja/FSAE Templates Half Car Models.........................................................................................270


Baja/FSAE Templates - Full Car Models...........................................................................................282


Introduction In Postprocessing with HyperView and HyperGraph..................................... 288


HyperView - Animating Results.........................................................................................................288


HyperGraph - Plotting Basics............................................................................................................293


HyperView Collision Detection .........................................................................................................298


Case Studies.............................................................................................................................. 301

Simulating The Suspension Response Of A High Performance Sports Car...................................301

17 Glossary..................................................................................................................................... 308

3 Interviews with Multi-Body Simulation

Rajiv Rampalli (*Vice President MBS software development, Altair)
1. How did you end up with Multi-Body Simulation? When and why did you decide to focus on MBS?
As an undergraduate, I always like Mechanics, especially Statics and Dynamics. The topics were interesting and the physical
principles behind them seemed elegant. So I decided to specialize in this area. I was fortunate to go to graduate school at the
University of Iowa, where Prof. Edward J. Haug was developing a fairly extensive program in just these areas. Prof. Jack Wiley, who
was also a Principal Engineer at John Deere, taught the Dynamics courses. These courses introduced me to more detailed theories
underlying multi-body simulation and computational methods to solve previously intractable problems.
As a research assistant for Prof. Haug, I worked with a team of students to develop software based on computational methods
for dynamics. This effort was enormously exciting since we were doing something only a few others had ever attempted. I was
2. What do you like most about Multi-Body Simulation?
There are multiple ways to look at a problem, formulate the underlying equations and solve them. We have the freedom to pick
the methods that seem most natural for a specific problem. In addition to Newtons Laws of Motion, Virtual Work based methods
like DAlemberts Principle, Energy based methods like Euler-Lagrange Equations and Variational methods such as Hamiltons
Principle can be used to formulate problems. These are only a few of the known methods! Similarly there are multiple approaches
to solve the equations of motion. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and there is no one best method for all
problems. The richness of the theory and breadth of available mathematics to solve multi-body problems has always fascinated
3. Where do you see Multi-Body Simulation in, lets say 5 years and in about 10 years from now?
Thomas Watson, President of IBM, famously said in 1943, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. So, it is tricky
to forecast! Notwithstanding my previous statement, here are three ways in which I see multi-body simulation evolving.
First, the technology will become much simpler to use so that it becomes accessible to much larger groups of people
Second, there will be a confluence of Multi-body Simulation, Computer Graphics, Finite Element Analysis, Controls and Webbased technologies. This merge of technologies will create new tools and applications that we just cannot fathom today.
Finally, Design Optimization and Optimal Control technologies will be integrated into multi-body simulation. The technology
and the software will allow you to design and build radically different and superior machines.
4. What is your recommendation to get started with MBS?
There is no unique answer to this question. If you are interested in software development, then one place to start is to understand
some of the theory underlying the methods used in the software. If you are interested in building a better device or system,
start small. Build simple examples and understand why they behave the way they do. Based on this foundation, you can go on
to studying models of increasing complexity. I have found the Crawl-Walk-Run philosophy to be quite relevant to multi-body
modeling, software development and anything else that I do.
5. Do you have any advice for students who are interested to pursue a career in CAE, especially in the field of Multi-body
Follow your heart. The rest will then become much more obvious.

Jin-Fan (Jeff) Liu (**Software Development Director, MotionSolve, Altair)

1. How did you end up with Multi-Body Simulation? When and why did you decide to focus on MBS?
I went to the University of Iowa in 1990 to pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering. Most graduate students in the mechanism/
structure group there were either majoring in multibody or structure optimization, not unlike the environment here in the Altair
Irvine office
2. What do you like most about Multi-Body Simulation?
Speed. It is the most efficient and numerically stable method to simulate a fully nonlinear dynamic mechanism involving from just
a few to hundreds of moving parts, and in many cases the solution can even be completed in real time.
3. Where do you see Multi-Body Simulation in, lets say 5 years and in about 10 years from now?
A number of things may happen in 5 years. You may see an emphasis in multiphysics involving co-simulation of mbd and other
tools, you may see nonlinear flexible bodies becoming more common in MBD models, and you may see the emergence of efficient
mechanism optimization involving numerous design parameters and competing design goals and constraints. Longer term, a real
multibody model would become so complicated such that each valuable model becomes an application itself. For example, a user
would see a slider-crank application, or a suspension application, instead of MotionView and MotionSolve. With good support,
there would likely be a rapid proliferation of such applications. The users we see today, would become specialized application
builders of tomorrow and these builders would be few in numbers comparing to the real users of tomorrow. Our job is to serve
these applications i.e., MotionView to help the builders to build successful applications and MotionSolve to solve the systems
fed from the applications over cloud efficiently. I think this trend will happen. Whether its 10, 15 or 20 years I dont know.
4. What is your recommendation to get started with MBS?
Start from something simple. Say a pendulum then a slider-crank mechanism.
5. Do you have any advice for students who are interested to pursue a career in CAE, especially in the field of Multi-Body
Gaining a broad knowledge base and skill set is important in the early days. After this, choose and specialize in the most difficult
one and aim to solve problems that others cant solve

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Written by Rajiv Rampalli, Gabriele Ferrarotti* and Michael Hoffmann

Altair Engineering, Inc.; * Gabriele Ferrarotti is an independent consultant to Altair Engineering.

The following chapter is based on the book NAFEMS 2011, ISBN 978-1-874376-54-5


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

NAFEMS has commissioned a series of How and Why books to guide new and experienced engineers in solving a wide range
of problems. This book is a new addition to this series that focuses on Multi-Body Simulation (MBS).
The term Multi-Body in this context is used to represent complex systems encountered in a wide variety of industries such as
transportation (automobiles, busses, trucks, trains, and planes), industrial machinery (textile, packaging, and manufacturing),
aerospace systems (spacecraft and missiles), consumer goods (washing machines and watches), and electro-mechanical systems
(printers and copiers). A defining characteristic of all these systems is that they can undergo large overall motion that is comparable
to their dimensions. These systems are typically represented as a set of connected particles, rigid bodies, and flexible bodies that
are subjected to a variety of environmental forces and inputs. The MBS methodology represents a very good trade-off between
mathematical complexity and accuracy, and MBS methods have been successfully used to describe the real-world behavior of
many systems. MBS models are mathematically described by second order, index-3, differential-algebraic equations.
While the underlying physical principles of MBS have been known since Isaac Newton, the equations for even relatively simple
systems cannot be manually derived or solved. With the advent of powerful digital computers and new numerical analysis methods
developed in the last forty years, it is now feasible to calculate the response of such systems from first principles and obtain insight
into their performance.
MBS is a systematic approach for understanding and improving the overall performance of such systems. This methodology
consists of five key steps:
a. Accurate mathematical modeling of systems, subsystems and their components
b. Automatically formulating and assembling the governing equations for a system using the laws of physics and the principles
of mechanics
c. Solving the system equations on a digital computer with numerical methods
d. Understanding system behavior by examining the computed response
e. Improving system performance using optimization techniques or controlling system behavior using mechatronic and control
The purpose of this book is to provide a high-level overview of this methodology, demonstrate through examples how it is used
in various industries today, and illustrate the benefits obtained in doing so. No attempt is made to explain the physical and
mathematical principles involved. Numerous references are provided in the book to assist the reader in accessing more detail, if

To the Memory

Whilst this publication has been carefully written and subject to peer group review, it is the readers responsibility to take all
necessary steps to ensure that the assumptions and results from any analysis which is made as a result of reading this document
are correct. Neither NAFEMS nor the authors can accept any liability for incorrect analysis.

Authors Acknowledgment
The authors acknowledge the help and support of Altair Engineering, Inc. for their encouragement and their generosity in providing
the time required to write this book. The editorial guidance of Kristine Ridgway is also greatly appreciated.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

4.1 Introduction
Increased global competition is forcing manufacturers to reduce product development time while simultaneously increasing
product quality, improving product innovation, and minimizing development risks. To meet these needs, manufacturers are now
replacing many tasks once done exclusively through hardware testing with physics-based simulation tools such as Multi-Body
Simulation (MBS).
MBS uses the power of a computer to design, evaluate, and refine complex systems using sophisticated mathematical modeling and
solution tools. It is a companion to, and a replacement for, the traditional process of refining products using hardware prototypes.
This introductory volume explains MBS technology and its usage in industry. For information on the principles underlying MBS,
please consult a text on theory. The following topics are addressed:
4.1 Introduction, introduces MBS and its relationships to other CAE technologies.
4.2, The Design and Analysis Process, explains the MBS modeling process and shows how it is part of a global approach to
multi-disciplinary simulation.
4.3, The Principles Underlying MBS, touches on the different types of analysis available for multi-body systems simulation and
explains at a high level the physical principles and mathematical tools used to create usable solutions.
4.4, Industry Applications, examines the key markets for MBS and illustrates in some detail how MBS is used to create innovative
products in many industries such as automotive, aerospace, railway, machinery, electromechanical, and biomechanical.
4.5, Emerging Trends, examines new ideas that are emerging as this technology is being deployed and used in industry.
4.6, Conclusions, provides a brief summary of commercially available MBS solvers and examines future trends in this domain.


Definition Of Multi-Body System Simulation (MBS)

Multi-Body System Simulation (MBS) is the study of the motion of mechanical systems caused by external forces and motion
excitations acting on the systems. In this context, the term multi-body is used to represent complex systems encountered in a
wide variety of industries such as transportation (automobiles, busses, trucks, trains, and planes), industrial machinery (textile,
packaging, and manufacturing), aerospace systems (spacecraft and missiles), consumer goods (washing machines and watches)
and electro-mechanical systems (printers and copiers). MBS is characterized by large displacements or gross motion of the system,
i.e. the extent of the relative motion between the components can be larger than or comparable to the overall dimensions of the
system. The mechanical system may consist of rigid and flexible bodies connected by various kinds of kinematic constraints and
flexible connectors. Environmental forces and motion excitations drive the motion of the entire system (Vesimaki and Saarinen).
Typical use scenarios for MBS today include:
The evaluation of the handling characteristics of an automobile being driven on a smooth road by a driver who is executing
various maneuvers with the vehicle
The study of a paper feeding mechanism in a printer or copying machine
Understanding the forces in the knee or spine when a human performs specific actions
Evaluating the fatigue life of components in earth-moving machinery
Calculation of the forces in the landing gear of an aircraft during take-off, landing, and taxi maneuvers
Evaluating the stability of a flexible spacecraft subjected to disturbance forces due to gravity gradients and solar wind while
it is orbiting the earth
Software for MBS is of growing, fundamental importance to modern Mechanical Computer Aided Engineering (MCAE). Physics
based modeling tools such as MBS software can model complex systems accurately. These tools allow engineers to build, test,
evaluate, and improve product designs without building any hardware prototypes. With MBS software, it is possible to reduce
product development costs, evaluate more design alternatives, and decrease the time it takes to bring a new product to market.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

MBS-like tools are expected to:

Reduce product development time and cost
Improve quality
Reduce design and manufacturing risks
Accelerate product innovation
There is an increasing trend to outsource subsystem design and manufacture to component suppliers. Large corporations now
face the difficult task of ensuring that the final product, assembled from components created elsewhere, is of high quality and that
the components work together seamlessly. It is common for hundreds of companies and thousands of engineers to be involved
in the creation of components that make up a product such as a car or an airplane. Tools that can coordinate the activities of
geographically dispersed teams, help minimize data redundancies, and facilitate common design philosophies and practices are
desperately needed.
The cost of product failure, after release to consumers, is extremely high. When safety issues are involved, the cost of litigation is
significant. The following examples, illustrate the magnitude of the problem in the automotive industry alone.
October 2009. A U.S. automaker issues one of the largest single recalls ever due to a faulty cruise control switch that
could lead to a fire. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this series of recalls would involve 16,000,000
December 2008. A European truck manufacturer recalls 26,047 school buses and trucks. The high-pressure fuel lines and
transfer tubes may fatigue and fracture.
August 2008. A U.S. auto manufacturer recalls 857,735 vehicles because a short circuit on the printed circuit board for the
washer fluid heater may overheat the control-circuit ground wire.
February 2008. A U.S. automotive manufacturer recalls 123,632 sport utility vehicles. The door handle housing embossment
on all side doors may fracture during normal customer usage.
May 2006. A large Swedish car manufacturer recalls about 108,000 sport utility vehicles due to steering problems. The
issue involves ball joints in the front suspension area; the ball joints may become loose in low-speed parking situations.
September 2005: A Japanese automotive manufacturer recalls 978,000 pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles because
a steering relay rod on the vehicles may fracture, causing a loss of control.
Similar examples are found across all manufacturing industries (Rampalli). These reasons are forcing product manufacturing
organizations to look for more effective product development methodologies.


Relation Between MBS And Other Technologies

MBS complements other technologies used in MCAE. There are many other areas, of course, where designers seek to understand
the behavior of a system by studying its underlying physics. Other books in this series (e.g. Why Do Nonlinear Finite Element
Analysis?) describe some of these other methods. As emphasizes, any system is a part of a larger system, and can in turn be
broken into smaller subsystems all the way down to molecules and atoms.
MBS methods are in the category of reduced order, macro-level models best applied at the product and assembly stages as shown
in Figure 1. The Finite Element Method is most relevant at the component and assembly stages.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 1: MBS And Its Relationship To Other Technologies (Courtesy of Prof. Bert Bras, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute
of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0405, USA)

The input data for MBS can be generated by another software product, created by an engineer, or obtained from the results of an
experiment. Similarly, the output from an MBS analysis can be used as input for further analysis by other computational tools. MBS
and other companion technologies used in MCAE are closely related in this way. This is shown schematically in Figure 2: Interaction
between MBS and other technologies. MBS is a system level tool. It can effectively solve complex, multi-physics problems that are
characteristic of real-world situations. It achieves this primarily by collaborating with other synergetic technologies..
1. Geometry information from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software is used to define the basic design of a mechanical
model for MBS. The CAD environment can display simulation results. Designers use this information to refine the system
design by understanding its overall performance.
2. The stresses, strains, deformations, and material models in a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) are used to build high fidelity
component models for MBS. In return, an MBS analysis can provide accurate loads and boundary conditions for FE models.
3. Software that simulates multi-domain actuators is used to create complex MBS subsystems that contain electrical,
hydraulic, pneumatic, and mechanical subsystems. In return, an MBS analysis can provide an accurate plant model to the
actuation modeling software.
4. The output from a physical test of a prototype is frequently used to define linear and nonlinear component properties in an
MBS model. Physical testing is also used to validate the behavior of an MBS model.
5. Control system design packages can apply the techniques of classical and modem control theory to design controllers that
manage overall system behavior in MBS models. Simplified MBS models are commonly used to design control systems.
6. Optimization and Design of Experiments (DOE) software are used to determine design parameters that optimize system
level behavior and improve the performance of a mechanical system.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 2: Interaction Between MBS And Other Technologies. MBS is A System Level Tool. It Can Effectively Solve Complex, Multi-Physics Problems That Are
Characteristic Of Real-World Situations. It Achieves This Primarily By Collaborating With Other Synergetic Technologies.

In summary, a significant synergy exists between MBS and other existing CAE technologies. Data can flow both ways providing
much needed information to either analysis. MBS software, indeed, has an important role to play in the field of MCAE (Vesimaki
and Saarinen).

Figure 3: System level simulation based on MBS. This figure shows how many technologies work together to solve a vehicle dynamics
problem. Many diverse technologies and software are required to work together to create a single high-fidelity representation of a
complex system such as an automobile. Different products dominate the usage in each of the technology areas.
Some examples shown in Figure 3 are:
Simulink or LabView is commonly used to model control systems.
AMESIM or DSHplus is frequently used to model hydraulic systems such as brakes.
Software from many different vendors may be used for analytical tire and road models.
RADIOSS is used to produce accurate but reduced representations of flexible bodies from a more detailed finite element
Test data from physical experiments are used to define the nonlinear properties of many connectors such as frequency
and amplitude dependent bushings.
MBS software sits at the center of this matrix. It assembles the system from the various subsystem descriptions and
characterizes system behavior.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 3: System Level Simulation Based On MBS. This Figure Shows How Many Technologies Work Together To Solve A Vehicle Dynamics Problem.

MBS is a natural environment for integrating such technologies because of its system level focus and its ability to rigorously
integrate a variety of other technologies to provide a true system level tool.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?


MBS Design And Analysis Process

Simulation-based design practices allow product designers, engineers, and analysts to assess the performance of new products
through concept design, concept refinement, detailed design, release, and production. It is no longer competitive to wait until the
end of the development process to build a hardware prototype, run tests, and make expensive modifications in order to assess
the design performance. Instead, designers and engineers are able to mathematically construct accurate models early in the
development cycle, exercise the models through hundreds of tests with many variations, and optimize the form, fit, and function
of the system at a fraction of the cost of traditional hardware prototype processes.
The vision for MBS is simple (Figure 4: Virtual Prototyping Vision. Through the use of virtual prototyping tools such as MBS,
products can be improved and brought to market faster.): replace time consuming and expensive hardware testing with much
more agile and inexpensive computer testing, enabling engineers to realize the virtual prototyping approach (Rampalli).

Figure 4: Virtual Prototyping Vision. Through The Use Of Virtual Prototyping Tools Such As MBS, Products Can Be Improved And Brought To Market Faster.

The key steps in analyzing a mechanical system with MBS software are:
1. Create an idealized representation of the physical system and break it down into basic components.
2. Draw a system schematic.
3. Create the model.
4. Analyze the behavior of the system with a proper solver.
5. Review the system response.
6. If needed, make changes to the model and go back to step 4.

The virtual prototyping process consists of four key steps:

1. Build
2. Test
3. Review
4. Improve
These steps mimic how engineers normally design and test products. Most commercially available MBS tools encapsulate these
four steps, which are examined in more detail in the following section.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?


Introduction To Virtual Prototyping


The goal of the Build phase is to create a meaningful computer representation of the physical system being studied. In this phase,
the goals of the analysis are defined and key modeling decisions are finalized. For areas of interest, more detail is prescribed;
correspondingly, for areas of less interest, higher levels of approximation are used. The model is built from a large pre-defined
library of modeling elements. These modeling elements encapsulate the underlying mathematical formulation and idealization,
so that users can create a realistic model simply by selecting an appropriate set of elements. The use of graphical pre-processors
aids tremendously in this task. Thus, users work in the physical domain, but by selecting the modeling elements for their system,
they are constructing the underlying mathematical model of the system step-by-step.
The next step is to define the properties of the modeling elements. This includes attributes such as component masses, inertias,
attachment point locations and orientations, connectivity definitions, material properties, stiffness and damping properties of
connectors, contact definition, applied forces and motion inputs acting on the model, and the characterization of environmental
forces on the model. Geometric data can be obtained from CAD systems or can be approximated. Material data and connectivity
properties can be obtained from component manufacturers. If the data is not available, isolated component testing (physical or
virtual) can be used to determine such properties. For properties such as damping, a simple guess is often used. At the end of this
phase, a complete physical model of the product is available.


Once a model is built, its accuracy must be confirmed through a validation process. Simulations are performed using the model,
and sample results are generated. Behind the scenes, once a simulation is initiated, the software assembles the governing
equations characterizing the system and solves them numerically in a digital computer. The results of such a simulation constitute
the performance history for the system. In a typical validation process, the physical and virtual models are tested identically and
the results are compared.
Often, the results of a virtual test do not match experimental measurements. Differences usually arise due to a lack of fidelity in
the virtual model, incorrect parameter values for poorly understood inputs such as damping, and incorrect assumptions. When
the cause of the differences is model fidelity, the solution is to increase the resolution of the model. This may be accomplished
by replacing rigid bodies with flexible bodies. Idealized constraints are replaced with flexible connections. Phenomena such as
friction and stiction ignored in earlier models are now included. All of these measures can significantly increase the complexity of
the model. The key is to add just enough detail to the model so that a good match with experimental data is observed. If the issue
is incorrect parameters, virtual experiments should be performed to identify and correct these values. Once a validated model is
obtained, the process moves to the next step, Review.


During the Review phase, the behavior of the proposed design is evaluated to quantify and assess the operating performance of
the model. The virtual model is exercised in exactly the same way a physical model would be, if it were available.
The purpose for building the model dictates the types of tests that are to be performed to evaluate its performance. For instance,
if one is interested in understanding the vehicle handling properties of a car, then the virtual tests should replicate the field and
laboratory tests that are performed on hardware prototypes of cars. Once a validated model is available, the true value of CAE
becomes evident. Design variables such as attachment point locations, spring stiffness, damping, mass, and inertia can be varied
as desired, and the effects of the change on system behavior can be understood.


During the Improve phase, a complete set of functional tests is finalized. These virtual tests will be used to sign-off on the new
product design. Design variables that significantly affect product behavior are then identified, and the design space is determined
by placing limits on these variables. Additional constraints that must be satisfied should also be considered at this time.
Statistics-based methods such as Design of Experiments (DOE) or Monte-Carlo simulations are used to determine the combinations
of parameters that must be simulated in order to give a statistically meaningful prediction of the envelope of operating performance.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

The identified combinations are then simulated and the raw results are generated. Response surface methods are used to fit
polynomials to these results. This reduced model allows for quick spreadsheet assessment of any potential design changes
within the specified range. This approach facilitates rapid, knowledge-based decisions. Requested changes to system design
points or parameters can be immediately assessed for their impact on performance, safety, durability, comfort, and cost. Faster
decisions and a better balance of competing functional performances result from this approach.

Basic Modeling Elements

The modeling process begins with the idealization of a system as an assembly of more basic components. For example, under
certain circumstances, it is possible to replace an entire powertrain with a few differential equations. The choice of simplifying
assumptions can have a significant effect on the usefulness and validity of the results, and on the cost of creating and maintaining
the models. A realistic idealization of the physical model, therefore, is very important.
The desired results define the purpose of the model. The user should decide on the physical behavior of interest, the simulations
that should be performed, the required outputs, and the required degree of accuracy. Once the purpose of the model is defined
and the necessary degree of complexity is determined, the model is decomposed into an appropriate set of basic components.
Decomposition permits a crawl-walk-run approach to model building. Simple models are first built and tested. Complexity is
gradually added as model confidence grows.
MBS is based on the physical laws of mechanics. MBS simulation tools implement Newtons laws of motion or an equivalent
formulation of the physical principles. MBS software normally requires the following data to specify the mechanical model for a
The mass and inertia of the components
The geometrical properties of the system including the location of the center of mass for each component, the location of
joints that connect the system, and the points at which the specified motion functions and forces apply
The geometrical shape of the bodies when contact between parts is important
The connectivity for the system (the mechanisms for connecting the parts) defined in terms of mechanical joints, higherpair contacts, other constraints, and elastic elements
A description of the external forces and excitations acting on the system
Inertia bearing elements (parts) are typically represented in the following ways:
Rigid bodies: Generally characterized by three translational and three rotational degrees of freedom
Flexible bodies: Generally represented in the modal domain using component mode synthesis
Point masses: Characterized by three translational degrees of freedom
2D rigid bodies: Generally characterized by two translational and one rotational degree of freedom
2D-3D mixed bodies: Used for example, to model belts where torsional motion of the belt is not generally of interest

Once the parts representing a system are created, they need to be constrained with each other or to a global coordinate system
(often referred to as ground). A large library of constraints is available for this purpose. Some typical constraints are:
Lower pair standard joints: Figure 5: Examples of lower pair joints shows some commonly used joints. Physically, a lowerpair joint consists of two mating surfaces that allow relative translational and/or rotational movement in certain specific
directions only. The surfaces are abstracted away, and the relationships are expressed as a set of algebraic equations
between points and directions on two bodies.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 5: Examples Of Lower Pair Joints

Joint primitives: These abstract entities enforce specific constraint relationships. See Figure 6: Examples of joint primitives
for some of the commonly used joint primitives.

Figure 6: Examples Of Joint Primitives


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Higher pair joints: These are constraints involving curves and surfaces. See Figure 7: Examples of parametric curves,
surfaces and higher pair joints for examples.

Figure 7: Examples Of Parametric Curves, Surfaces And Higher Pair Joints

Examples of higher pair constraints include point-to-curve, curve-to-curve, curve-on-surface and surface-on-surface. Curves
and surfaces are typically defined parametrically.
Motions constraints: A motion constraint defines an input excitation between two coordinate systems in a model. The
motion input may be translational or rotational. An expression defines the motion characteristic. The characteristic may be
a displacement, or an acceleration relationship. The expression is usually a function of time.
Couplers: A coupler constraint defines an algebraic relationship between the degrees of freedom of two or three joints. This
constraint is used to model idealized spur gears, rack and pinion gears, differentials, and hydraulic cylinders. See Figure
8: Motion, Coupler, and Gear elements. These constraints prescribe the motion in a single joint or algebraically relate the
motion between a pair of joints for some common examples.

Figure 8: Motion, Coupler, And Gear Elements. These Constraints Prescribe The Motion In A Single Joint Or Algebraically Relate The Motion Between A Pair Of Joints.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

General constraints and motions: These are represented analytically in user-written subroutines or expressions. Usersubroutines are typically written in a programming language such as C, C++, or FORTRAN or in a powerful scripting language
such as Python, TCL, or Ruby.
Forces and flexible connections: Parts can be connected not only through constraints but also with force elements.
Constraints define algebraic relationships in the system; these represent workless, idealized connections. In contrast,
flexible connections are modeled with force elements. Force elements may act between two or more parts; they can be
translational or rotational; they can have an action-only or action-reaction characteristic. Very often, they depend nonlinearly
on the system displacements, velocities, and other states in the system. Sometimes forces, especially those experimentally
measured, are expressed as functions of time. Examples are the aerodynamic force acting on airplane wings and the
road loads imposed by the road on the spindles of a vehicle. All MBS tools support a large set of force connectors. Figure
9: Examples of force elements (Spring-Damper, obtained from, (last
visited November 29, 2009)) shows examples of force connectors.

Figure 9: Examples Of Force Elements (Spring-Damper, obtained from, (last visited November 29, 2009))

- Timoshenko beams: Beams modeled according to the equations developed by the Ukrainian/Russian-born scientist
Timoshenko (i.e. takes into account shear deformation and rotational inertia effects, making it suitable for describing
the behavior of short beams, sandwich composite beams or beams subject to high-frequency excitation when the
wavelength approaches the thickness of the beam; definition Wikipedia
- Bushings: This element defines a linear force and torque acting between two coordinate systems belonging to two
different parts. The force and torque consist of: a spring force, a damping force, and a pre-load vector. Bushing
elements are typically used to reduce vibration, absorb shock, reduce noise, and accommodate misalignments.
- Fields: This is a generalization of a bushing. It can be linear or nonlinear.
- Spring dampers: The element defines a spring and damper pair acting between two coordinate systems. The element
can apply a force or a moment. The force is characterized by a stiffness coefficient, a damping coefficient, a freelength, and a preload.
- General forces: These can define a single component of a force or torque, or the force and/or torque vector acting
between two bodies. The components may be defined as function expressions in the input file or via user-written
subroutines. The components can be a function of any system displacement, velocity, or any other state variable in
the system.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Rigid-rigid contact: This defines a 3D contact force between geometries on two rigid bodies. Whenever a geometrical shape
on the first body penetrates a geometrical shape on the second body, a normal force and a friction force are generated.
The normal force tends to repulse motion along the common normal at the contact point. The friction force tends to oppose
relative slip. The contact force vanishes when there is no penetration. The contact may be persistent or impulsive. See
Figure 10: Examples of contact elements. Both 2D-contact and 3D-contact can be handled by MBS. The contacting bodies
may be rigid or flexible.

Figure 10: Examples Of Contact Elements. Both 2D-Contact And 3D-Contact Can Be Handled By MBS. The Contacting Bodies May Be Rigid Or Flexible.

Rigid-flex and flex-flex contact: These are usually modeled as point-to-deformable-curve force elements, point-todeformable-surface force elements, or deformable-surface-to-deformable-surface force elements. The curve or surface
has the ability to deform during the simulation. See Figure 11: An example of a point-to-deformable-surface contact force.
This figure shows a spherical body in impact with a highly deformable surface.

Figure 11: An Example Of A Point-To-Deformable-Surface Contact Force. This Figure Shows A Spherical Body In Impact With A Highly Deformable Surface.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Abstract system modeling elements: Abstract elements, primarily equations of different kinds are available to represent
non-standard components in an MBS model. Differential equations are commonly used to capture the behavior of dynamic
subsystems. For instance, these can represent the influence of an air spring in a railway vehicle. Linear and nonlinear statespace equations and transfer functions are also commonly available. These can represent components with well-defined
inputs, outputs, and internal states.
Most commercially available MBS solutions feature an interactive user interface that helps the user in model development and

Typical Outputs

At each output time, the multi-body simulation can write a comprehensive description of the state of the system. Thus, a time
history of system behavior is recorded in the output files. The output can include any combination of:
Reaction forces
Applied forces
User-defined variables
User-defined derived results
States for system modeling elements
Outputs from system modeling elements (such as linear transfer functions)
Plant inputs and outputs for the state matrices for a linearized model
State matrices corresponding to a set of plant inputs and outputs for a linearized model
Eigenvalues and eigenvectors at specified operating points
After performing an analysis, the output of interest can be reviewed to understand the behavior of the system. Very often, the
output is used to animate a graphical representation of the system so that an intuitive understanding of the behavior of the system
can be developed. Commercially available solutions usually offer a complete set of tools to interpret the results (animation, x-y
plots, output in numerical form, math operations on the result sets, etc.). Figure 12: Common visualization techniques available in
MBS software. Sophisticated plotting, graphical display, and animation are commonly used. The image below shows some of the
common visualization capabilities that are available in MBS software today.

Figure 12: Common Visualization Techniques Available In MBS Software. Sophisticated Plotting, Graphical Display, And Animation Are Commonly Used.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?


Multidisciplinary Modeling

The behavior of most real systems is governed by the complex interaction between phenomena that are governed by different
sets of physical laws. For instance, the behavior of an electric motor is governed not only by the principles of mechanics (Newtons
Laws) but also by the principles of electromagnetics (Maxwells Equations). Therefore, tools capable of multi-disciplinary simulation
have gained wide acceptance. Interfaces for accurately coupling different simulation tools, each of which focus on a specific set of
phenomena, are needed. The coupling includes aspects of physics and numerical analysis as well as that of software engineering.
With a great number of interfaces to other engineering disciplines such as FEA, CAD, CFD, and control design engineering, MBS
is a true multidisciplinary technology, which can be used from the pre-design phase through the trouble shooting phase (DLR
Germany - Institute of Aeroelasticity).

Integration With Finite Element Analysis

A great deal of confusion often exists amongst engineers about the differences between MBS and FEA. This section attempts to
clear misconceptions by comparing the two technologies.
Figure 13: The general domain of MCAE shows how the MCAE domain is subdivided into different categories, each addressed by
a specific technology.

Figure 13: The General Domain Of MCAE

Both FEA and MBS are derived from Newtons Laws of Motion or an equivalent principle such as the Principle of Virtual Work. They
both use equations of force balance to calculate the system response. They both use geometry as the starting point. Quite often,
FEA software can do some multi-body analysis; similarly, many commercial MBS software packages can do limited FE analyses.
These are some of the similarities between the two technologies.
MBS and FEA software vary in many different ways. The most fundamental difference is the purpose for which they are used.
Traditionally, FE software has focused on detailed component analyses, whereas MBS has focused on overall system level behavior
where large motion is the dominant aspect of the behavior. This fundamental difference in purpose results in much dissimilarity
in the tools and methodologies developed for these two domains.
Their use of geometry is quite different. In MBS, geometry is used to determine overall mass properties, define connectivity
locations, and represent contact geometry shapes. In FE, the geometry is always meshed because one is interested in
representing the continuum as accurately as possible.
MBS is concerned with overall system performance. Taking the automotive example of Figure 14: The symbiotic relationship
between FEA and MBS, MBS is the right technology to use if one is interested in the handling behavior of the vehicle. FE is
the right tool to use when the focus is on structural performance. For example, what happens when a car crash occurs or
what are the acoustic characteristics of the automobile interior?
A characteristic of MBS is that the motion of the system is comparable to the size of the system; in FE, the overall motion
is usually small. It is more focused on deformation, stress, and strain.
MBS simulations typically are of long duration. Simulations that last for several hundred seconds are common. In contrast,

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

FE simulations are often of much shorter duration. Many crash simulations are only milliseconds long.
MBS models are typically much smaller that FE models. A large MBS model may contain only several thousand equations.
In contrast, a large FE model will contain several million equations. In the MBS world, one may solve 5000 equations a
hundred thousand times. In the FE world, one would solve 5 million equations several hundred times.
Due to the difference in model sizes and simulation requirements, the numerical methods that are used are quite different.
MBS solution methods generally do not apply very well to FE models and vice-versa.
In summary, the key difference between MBS and FEA is one of focus. MBS focuses on the macroscopic behavior of the system
whereas FEA typically deals more with microscopic behavior. The two technologies are synergistic; they work well together. This
synergy is illustrated in Figure 14.

Figure 14: The Symbiotic Relationship Between FEA And MBS

FEA technology can provide higher fidelity component models and distributed loads information to MBS software. Conversely,
through a system level simulation, MBS technology can provide component loads, boundary conditions, and linearized subsystems
to FE software.
We have seen that MBS software typically represents bodies as rigid entities, but in reality, there are applications in which the
flexibility of components cannot be neglected. For example, when modeling a robot with long and lightweight arms, the inherent
flexibility of the long arm will cause deformation that affects the overall behavior of the system and significantly affects the reaction
loads on the various joints in the MBS model. Therefore, flexibility effects need to be included in many multi-body simulations.
The flexibility of the components can be represented with simple lumped-mass elements. For more accurate representations, a
reduced finite element model of the component, a flexible body, can be embedded in the system-level MBS model.
A modal representation of a finite element mesh is used to efficiently represent flexible bodies A modal representation is much
more computationally efficient than a nodal representation. Flexible bodies in MBS are predominantly linear, i.e. the deformation
can be separated into spatially dependent mode-shapes and time dependent modal coordinates, without any loss of accuracy.
In such a scenario, deformation, stress, and strain can be represented using the modal approach. This is shown schematically
in Figure 15: The modal representation of flexibility. Deformation is separated into spatially dependent mode shapes () and
temporally dependent states (q)..

Figure 15: The Modal Representation Of Flexibility. Deformation Is Separated Into Spatially Dependent Mode Shapes () And Temporally Dependent States (Q).


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

The procedure to go from the nodal to the modal representation of a flexible body is called Component Mode Synthesis (CMS).
CMS requires the specification of the intrinsic vibration behavior of the system (eigenvalues and eigenvectors) and the connectivity
properties of a set of interface points (called attachment nodes) that connect the flexible body to the rest of the system. This
approach permits an accurate representation of deformation as well as the loads on a flexible component for the frequency range
of interest.
There are two main approaches to Component Mode Synthesis (CMS): The Craig-Bampton Method (Craig and Bampton, Coupling
of Substructures for Dynamic Analyses) and the Craig-Chang Method (Craig and Ching-Jone, On the use of attachment modes in
substructure coupling for dynamic analyses). Both methods permit a dramatic reduction in the number of degrees of freedom in
a nodal representation of a component. As an example, for an automotive suspension control arm model (Figure 16: Flexible body
representing an automotive suspension control arm. A body represented by 13,000 nodal DOF is reduced to 37 modal DOF
through CMS.) that includes four attachment points to the rest of the model and a frequency range of validity up to 10 Hz, 13,000
nodal DOFs are reduced to just 37 modal DOFs.

Figure 16: Flexible Body Representing An Automotive Suspension Control Arm. A Body Represented By
13,000 Nodal DOF Is Reduced To 37 Modal DOF Through CMS.

The steps below describe how to incorporate a flexible body into an MBS model:
a. Create the component model in finite element software such as RADIOSS.
b. In the FE code, perform Component Mode Synthesis to generate the data required for a flexible body.
c. Validate the reduced flexible body with simple tests.
d. Import the flexible body into the MBS model and connect it to the rest of the system (see Figure 17).
e. Solve the MBS model with flexible components and generate results.

Use plots and animations to visualize the results.

Some commercially available MBS products provide additional capabilities to recover stresses on the flexible components. These
stresses and strains are subsequently used to assess fatigue-life/damage with fatigue prediction software (HyperWorks from
Altair Engineering) .

Figure 17: Flexible Lower Control Arms In An Automotive Suspension Model. The Modal Bodies Are Connected To Other Components And Incorporated Into The

Another important capability is the ability to model contact between any combination of rigid and flexible bodies. This is available as
a constraint or force. This methodology (Altair Engineering) includes the deformation of the flexible body in the contact calculations.
This approach is used for modeling deformations in cranes, elevator-guides and membranes. Figure 18 provides an example of

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

rigid body sliding on a flexible rail.

Figure 18: Flexible Crane MBS Model With Sliding Contact On Flexible Body. The Rail Is Modeled As A Flexible Surface.

There are some application cases where nonlinearity of deformation must be taken into account to accurately represent the
dynamics of the problem. For example, when modeling a helicopter blade, stress stiffening should be taken into account; a
component of the stiffness matrix is a function of the angular velocity of the blade. In other situations, the deformation is not
small, so it is not possible to separate the deformation into spatial and temporal components. Some MBS tools support such
general representations of flexible bodies.
The close connection between FEA and MBS software also enables one to perform topology, topography, and shape optimization
of components under dynamic loading. Optimization software external to the MBS environment is usually required for such
simulations. One method successfully used in industry is the Equivalent Static Load Method (ESLM), an innovative method for
optimizing multi-body problems involving flexible bodies (Altair Engineering). This technique is explored in more detail in the
Section 5.6.

Integration With Controls And Hydraulics

Complex systems such as cars and planes have many embedded control systems. These systems monitor and control the behavior
of the car or plane to avoid catastrophic failures and ensure high performance. The term, Mechatronics, was coined to define such
embedded systems. Figure 19: Mechatronic systems in automobiles. Mechatronics is the synergistic use of precision engineering,
control theory, computer science, mathematics, and sensor technology to design smart products, processes, and systems.
Mechatronics has been identified as one of the top 10 technologies that will change the world (Technology Review) provides a
few examples of mechatronic systems relevant to automobiles.

Figure 19: Mechatronic Systems In Automobiles. Mechatronics Is The Synergistic Use Of Precision Engineering, Control Theory, Computer Science, Mathematics,
And Sensor Technology To Design Smart Products, Processes, And Systems. Mechatronics Has Been Identified As One Of The Top 10 Technologies That Will
Change The World (Technology Review)


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Although the basics of a car have not changed (four wheels, transmission, engine, etc.), todays vehicles have a staggering amount
of intelligent content. Cars now have features such as anti-lock braking systems, chassis electronic stability programs, engine
control, transmission control, drive-by-wire, steer-by-wire, brake-assist systems, and traction control systems. These systems are
characterized by the fact that the control systems need to monitor and control some aspect of the vehicle behavior in real-time.
The average vehicle now contains the rough equivalent of 50 to 100 small laptop computers in its electronic control units, and
these are linked to each other by as many as 10 computer networks. A luxury sedan has approximately 10-15 million lines of
embedded software code. Software and electronics have become the primary areas of innovation for automakers. Some industry
analysts have concluded that today 60% of the innovation in this industry involves electronics, with some 80% of that coming from
software (Taylor). Figure 20: The growth of mechatronic systems in passenger cars shows the growth of mechatronic systems in
passenger cars in the last decade.

Figure 20: The Growth Of Mechatronic Systems In Passenger Cars

Commercially available MBS solvers usually have limited control system modeling capabilities. On the other hand, there are
extremely sophisticated tools that specialize in control system modeling, yet they have limited multi-body capabilities. In order
to effectively model the entire system, the multi-body system (plant) can be simulated in the MBS software and the control
subsystems in a controls environment. The two systems collaborate, usually through co-simulation (Altair Engineering), to model
and simulate the entire system. Many real world systems are now being developed as mechatronics systems, i.e. they consist of a
mechanical system (the plant) managed by a controller that usually runs on a microprocessor. The controller senses the behavior
of the plant, decides the corrective action to be taken, and passes appropriate signals to an actuation system that regulates the
plant behavior. This relationship is shown in Figure 21: A typical mechatronic system.

Figure 21: A Typical Mechatronic System

Commercial tools are also available for simulating hydraulic, thermo-hydraulic, or pneumatic actuation systems (Fluidon GmbH).
With a commercially available toolset, engineers can simulate the entire setup shown in Figure 22: Co-simulation of a hydraulic
pump. The hydraulic subsystem is modeled in a hydraulics package; the mechanical subsystem in an MBS tool.. The ultimate aim

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

of such an approach is to allow simultaneous optimization of the mechanical system, controller, and actuator, resulting in higher
performance at lower cost. Figure 22 shows a coupled mechanical and hydraulic system used in modeling pumps. The pump is
used to drive an actuator.

Figure 22: Co-Simulation Of A Hydraulic Pump. The Hydraulic Subsystem Is Modeled In A Hydraulics Package; The Mechanical Subsystem In An MBS Tool.

Integration With Physical Testing

Simulation methods and physical testing have become an integral part of the development process to enable organizations
to create high quality products and significantly speed their time to market. Both virtual and physical methods have evolved
tremendously in the past few decades because of advances in hardware and software technology.
Many large automotive, truck, bus, and agricultural machinery manufacturing companies now routinely couple MBS, FEA, and
Fatigue Life Prediction software to understand the fatigue behavior of complex systems. This coupling can occur in many different
ways. Figure 23: Fatigue analysis of automobile bodies shows one possible combination that is used for analyzing the fatigue life
of automobile components. In this case, an instrumented car is driven on the proving grounds and spindle force time histories are
collected. A duty cycle is synthesized from the spindle force time histories and fed into an MBS model to generate the load history
of specific components - the body for the example in Figure 23. A unit-load stress analysis is performed in the FE domain. The
component load history from MBS and the unit stress response from FE are coupled with material models in fatigue software to
predict the fatigue life of the body and identify possible failure points.

Figure 23: Fatigue Analysis Of Automobile Bodies


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Even though the test and the analysis domains have progressed quite well independently, there is still a general need to more
easily couple these domains and exchange data between the two. This is not as easy as experimentally measuring a quantity and
simply inputting it into a virtual model of a test-rig plus vehicle as demonstrated below. Figure 24 shows the topology of a typical
test-rig based MBS simulation.

Figure 24: A Typical Setup For Test-Rig Plus Vehicle Simulation.

A set of drive files is provided as input to the test-rig. These files define the input signals to the actuators in the test-rig. The
actuators respond with a set of forces and moments that is applied to the vehicle connected to the test-rig. These forces are
typically applied at the contact patch between the tire and the platforms on the rig, or directly to the spindle. The vehicle responds
to the various inputs by shaking and vibrating. Sensors mounted on the vehicle measure output of interest.
The first task is to synthesize a duty cycle from the measured loads. The data collected from the proving ground is analyzed to
determine fatigue relevant inputs and time frames for the vehicle. Engineers delete regions of the measured data that is not of
interest and select the set of channels to define a duty cycle. Care is taken to ensure that the overall fatigue damage potential for
the reduced data is the same as the raw data. This defines the Duty Cycle block in Figure 24, which is the output of the test-rig.
Initially, input to the test-rig is a set of unknown actuator drive files. Once the inverse transfer function of the test-rig is known, the
drive file signals are created simply by multiplying the duty cycle with the inverse transfer function. The inverse transfer function
of the test-rig is developed by experimentally measuring the frequency response function (FRF) of each actuator, and inverting it.
This method works very well when the test-rig is linear.

Test-rigs contain complex hydraulic and control systems that are not linear. To adequately allow for a linear transfer function to
represent a nonlinear system, an iterative process is used in which the transfer function is modified. The goal of the iteration
process is to find the necessary actuator inputs (drive file signals) that create the outputs that were measured in the field. In each
iteration, the drive files are modified so that they more closely reproduce the measured road loads.
FRF testing of the test-rig and iterations is difficult. Fortunately, the FRF for a test-rig does not change too often and need not be
repeated each time. Since the iteration is carried out using software, it is quite inexpensive and significantly faster than conducting
a full scale test.
Many MBS models contain uncertain parameters (e.g. stiffness or damping of bushings) that reduce accuracy. With the help of
virtual iteration, it is possible to compensate for these unknowns and to improve the accuracy of simulations.
Another advantage of a virtual iteration as opposed to a physical one is that higher load amplitudes can be chosen from the
beginning because there is no danger of overloading components. This results in a more realistic transfer behavior and fewer
iterations to reach convergence. Figure 25 is an example (MAGNA STEYR, Engineering Center Steyr GmbH & Co KG, Austria) related
to an automotive four poster test rig simulation where this iteration technique was used. Only four iterations were necessary to
reach a converged solution. The simple damage comparison in this example showed a change in damage of only 6%, which is well
within the expected error norm. This example demonstrates that including virtual iteration in the analysis process can significantly
improve the dynamic response of a complex mechanical system and subsequently, the quality of fatigue life prediction.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 25: Virtual Test Bench Model Of A Suspension Test Rig. This Test Rig Is Used To Perform A Kinematics And Compliance Analysis (Courtesy Of Magna Steyr

Daimler (Dittmann, K.j., DaimlerChrysler Albright F.J., Leser C., MTS) relies on the frontloading of simulation activities to meet its
objective of achieving a higher-level product maturity at an earlier stage in the development process while using fewer physical
prototypes. In addition to moving the test track into the laboratory, engineers are now shifting other development activities from
the physical to the virtual world. MBS solutions are being used as a component of a complete Virtual Test Laboratory (VTL) to
improve the confidence in the predictive capability of the virtual analysis. The distinction between test and analysis is becoming
The benefit to using virtual test benches is that it can ensure that the test rig actually works, meaning (a) it has no undesirable
vibrations from external or self-excitation, (b) the planned servo-hydraulic actuators can fulfill the specifications regarding force/
frequency behavior, (c) the rig kinematics has no problems regarding singularities and parts penetration, and (d) no durability
problems of rig components occur.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?


The Principles Underlying MBS


An Historical Perspective

The analysis of motion has a long and rich history, and it has been the cornerstone of many advances in mathematics and physics.
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.): The first indirect reference to the principle of virtual work is contained in the eight volume treatise, Physics,
written by Aristotle. He derives the law of the lever from the observation that forces balance each other if they are inversely
proportional to the velocities. Aristotelian physics, however, was based on philosophy, rather than experiment. Consequently, it
had many errors such as (a) motion in a vacuum is infinitely fast, (b) planets move in perfect circular motion, and (c) a body falling
under the action of gravity moves in a straight line at constant velocity. Despite these many shortcomings, Aristotelian physics was
commonly accepted and used until the Renaissance era.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642): Galileos principal contribution to physics was to introduce the scientific method. In addition to
being an outstanding experimentalist, Galileo improved the state of physics by clarifying that work is a product of a force and
the displacement in the direction of that force. He demonstrated that at constant acceleration, the distance moved by a body
is proportional to the square of the time and that the path of a projectile on the Earth is a parabola. Galileo is also credited with
introducing the concept of inertia, as the property that keeps an object moving once it is in motion.
Isaac Newton (1642-1727): Perhaps the most fertile brain in all of physics, Isaac Newton was responsible for formulating the three
fundamental laws of motion.
1) An object in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line continues to remain in that state of motion unless it is
compelled to change that state by forces acting on it,
2) Force is equal to the rate of change of momentum with time. For constant mass, the force (F) equals mass (m) times
acceleration (a). F = ma.
3) For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Newton also created a branch of mathematics, Calculus, associated with rate of change of quantities such as displacement and
velocity. These were enunciated in his 1687 book, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematics (Principia).
Jean le Rond dAlembert (1717-1785): dAlembert introduced the notion of inertia force, and through this was able to reduce any
mechanics problem to one of force equilibrium. He was the first to mathematically articulate the principal of virtual work. With this
approach, the equations of motion of any mechanical system could be deduced from a variational principle, The net virtual work
done by the internal and external forces in any system, due a reversible virtual displacement that satisfies the system constraints,
is zero. The principal of virtual work is an alternate statement of the laws of mechanics developed by Newton. While one can be
deduced from the other, they are entirely independent concepts.
Leonhard Euler (1707-1783): Euler was the first mathematician to study the rotation of rigid bodies and developed the concept of
Euler angles to describe large spatial rotations. He was also the first to relate angular velocity to the rate of change of the Euler
angles. Euler (with Lagrange) is responsible for developing the Calculus of Variations, which is the study of functionals and the
conditions under which they achieve an extremum value. Simultaneously with Lagrange, he also developed the famous EulerLagrange equations to solve such problems.
Joseph-Louis Lagrange (1736-1813): Lagrange discovered the calculus of variations independently of Euler, and developed an
analytical basis for mechanics. He formalized the notion of generalized coordinates and momentum associated with generalized
coordinates. In Lagrangian mechanics, any system can be expressed in terms of a set of coordinates. An expression for the
Lagrangian function can be formulated. The equations of motion for the system can be extracted simply by evaluating the EulerLagrange equation. All of this is clearly explained in Mecanique Analytique, published in 1788. Lagrange also developed the
method of undetermined multipliers to handle auxiliary constraints on a system. Lagranges methods are so strikingly elegant,
that he has often been called the Shakespeare of mechanics.

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865): Hamilton was responsible for placing Lagrangian mechanics into the context of a variational
principle, Hamiltons principle. He also developed Hamiltons equations; a transformation of the Euler-Lagrange equations, in
which position and momentum are considered as generalized coordinates (in contrast to position and velocity).
The Twentieth Century: The twentieth century has seen many new developments in this area. Two are particularly relevant. The
first is the development of automated methods for formulating and solving the equations of motion for a mechanical system in a
digital computer. Sheth, P.N., (Sheth and Uicker, IMP (Integrated Mechanisms Program), A Computer Aided Design Analysis System
for Mechanisms and Linkage) and Orlandea, N. (Orlandea, Calahan and Chace) were two of the first researchers to develop these
Kanes method (Kane and Levinson), (Kane and Levinson, Dynamics, Theory and Application), (Kane, Likins and Levinson,
Spacecraft Dynamics) is the other interesting development. Kanes method is a generalization of dAlemberts methods. The
forces acting on the system are projected to the space of independent velocities of the system using the concept of partial
velocities and equilibrium is sought in this space. Kanes formalism provides a systematic approach to developing the equations
of motion for a system using velocities most appropriate for the system being analyzed. Kanes method also provides a natural
approach to introducing generalized speeds that are not the time derivatives of any corresponding generalized coordinates. His
method is most commonly used in the aerospace industry.


Types Of Analyses

In MBS, six basic types of analyses are available. Depending on the characteristics of the problem, a particular set of analyses are
performed. Each of these analyses provides different information about the system. More complex analyses can be synthesized
by using a combination of these basic analyses.
Assembly analysis: Ensures that a complex MBS system is put-together correctly, satisfies all the system constraints, and that
the system states have the right initial velocities for a subsequent simulation.
Kinematic analysis: Simulates the motion of a system that has zero degrees of freedom. The system moves because some of
its constraints have an explicit dependence on time. It allows the engineer to determine the range of possible values for the
displacement, velocity, and acceleration of any point of interest on a mechanical device. If the mass and inertial properties of the
parts are specified, MBS software can also calculate the corresponding applied and reaction forces resulting from the prescribed
motions. These calculations are all algebraic in nature. Typical applications of the kinematic analysis include the design of a
mechanism and preliminary design of subsystems such as suspensions.
Static equilibrium analysis: Determines a state for a system in which all of the internal and external forces are balanced in the
absence of any system motion or inertia forces. The principle of virtual work is used to formulate the problem. When the system
velocities and accelerations are set to zero, this implies that the sum of the internal and applied forces in all directions is zero. The
static equilibrium analysis is typically used to find a starting point for a dynamic analysis by removing unwanted system transients
at the start of the simulation. Unbalanced forces in the initial configuration can generate undesirable effects in the dynamic
Quasi-static analysis: A sequence of static analyses performed for different configurations of the system (in contrast to static
equilibrium, which is computed at fixed points in time during a simulation). Typical uses of quasi-static analysis include determining
the coordinates of hard-points during the development of automotive suspensions and determining the angle of tilt when a forklift
can topple over.
Dynamic analysis: Provides the time-history solution for all of the displacements, velocities, accelerations, and internal reaction
forces in a mechanical system in response to a set of environmental forces and excitations. The governing equations for such
an analysis are typically nonlinear, ordinary second order differential-algebraic equations (DAE). These define the force balance
conditions. The equations are nonlinear and cannot be solved symbolically. Numerical integrators are used to calculate the
Linear analysis: The system nonlinear equations are linearized about an operating point. Two different types of linear analyses,
eigen-analysis and state matrix calculations, can be performed. Eigenanalysis is the calculation of eigenvalues and eigenvectors
for the linearized system. The eigenvalues are the natural frequency/damping characteristics of the system while the eigenvectors
represent the modes of the vibration associated with each frequency. Both the eigenvalues and the eigenvectors are complex
valued. The state matrices that can be generated from the linearized system are the coefficient matrices for representing a
linearized mechanical system in state-space form.

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?


Types Of Equations: DAE Vs. ODE

MBS formulations typically lead to a set of coupled, second-order, nonlinear, index-3, Differential-Algebraic Equations (DAE). The
stability, accuracy, and efficiency of solution of these equations are dependent on many factors. Table 1 identifies some of the
possible choices that can be made for the factors mentioned.


State choice

Cartesian coordinates

Relative coordinates

Generalized Speeds

Natural coordinates
Time derivatives of
Lagrange multipliers

Mixed coordinates
Quasi coordinates


Penalty methods

Augmented Lagrange

Fully linear

Constraint Handling

Equation degree
Integration Methods

Linear Algebraic


Stabilized index
Fully nonlinear

Partial linearization




Mixed dimensionality
2nd order integrators

Single/Multi-step, bdf

Explicit integrators

Dense solvers

Iterative solvers

Sparse Solvers

Table 1 A Classification Of Commonly Used MBS Solution Strategies

State Choice

States are used to represent the system configuration internally in MBS solvers. Many commercial MBS codes use Cartesian
coordinates that locate the translation and orientation of each body in the system with respect to a global origin and an inertial
reference frame. Some others (Rampalli, 2006) use natural coordinates to represent system configuration. In this scheme, every
coordinate system is provided states. Still others use joint-based relative coordinates to represent system configuration. Each
approach has its advantages and disadvantages. The Cartesian and Natural coordinate schemes use many more coordinates
than there are degrees of freedom in the system. The relative coordinate scheme tries to use exactly as many coordinates as there
are degrees of freedom. Thus, formulations using Natural or Cartesian coordinates generate index-3, DAE. The system consists of
differential equations of force balance and algebraic constraint equations. In contrast, for tree-structured topologies, the use of
relative coordinates results in a recursively-defined set of Ordinary Differential Equations (ODE).
The use of extra coordinates results in especially simple and efficient equation formulation techniques. The formulation can also
be easily parallelized for shared memory and distributed parallel processors. The use of joint coordinates typically results in fewer
but more complex equations. The presence of closed loops in the system adds additional complexity for joint coordinate based
formulations. Special techniques are required to eliminate these constraints.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Generalized Speeds Choice

The most common practice is to use the time derivatives of the displacements to represent velocities. This results in especially
simple kinematic differential equations that define the velocities. Alternatively, generalized speeds (quasi-coordinates) may be
used to represent velocities. This means the velocities cannot be directly integrated to provide displacements. The kinematic
differential equations are more complex in these scenarios. This approach is taken to reduce the complexity of the equations of
motion, at the expense of a little more complexity in the kinematic differential equations.
For instance, one may choose to use Euler parameters to represent large 3D rotational displacements, but use angular velocities
to represent rotational velocities. Angular velocities are an example of quasi-coordinates. They cannot be directly integrated to
obtain a meaningful 3D rotational measure. Quasi-coordinates are employed only in the most simplistic situations, since they are
hard to implement in a completely automated way.

Constraint Handling Methods

Either because of the choice of system states or the presence of closed topological loops in a mechanical system, the equations
of motion of a general mechanical system are index-3 DAE. The differential equations represent force balance and the algebraic
equations represent the system constraints. Special techniques are required to deal with the constraints before the equations
can be provided to numerical integrators for solution. Very few integrators know how to solve index-3 DAEs. Table 2 summarizes
the most commonly used approaches for handling constraints. Their relative strengths and weaknesses are also briefly noted.
Constraint Handling
Lagrange Multipliers



Simple formulation

Large equation sets

Obtain constraint reaction forces

Need DAE integrators

Stabilized index-2

Joint friction easy to model

Allows error control on velocities

Higher index formulations

Large equation sets

Stabilized index-1

Improved accuracy & robustness

Only BDF integrators supported

Not efficient for contact models
Stiff integrator support is expensive

Well suited for stiff problems

Coordinate Partitioning Reduces DAE to ODE
Obtain constraint reaction forces
Stiff and non-stiff integrators supported

Penalty Methods

Stiff and non-stiff integrators supported

Reduces DAE to ODE
Constraint reaction forces easily obtained
Stiff and non-stiff integrators supported
Dummy Derivatives

Independent coordinates can change

Quasi-coordinate support is expensive
Penalty coefficient is guessed

Reduces DAE to ODE

Obtain constraint reaction forces

Augmented Lagrange

Fails when the independent coordinate set


No constraint drift
Constraint reaction forces easily obtained
Partitioned solutions possible

Penalty term adds high frequencies to the

Penalty term causes small step to be taken
Can only satisfy position or velocity or
acceleration level constraints or a linear
combination of these
Drift seen in constraint or its time
Partitioning of coordinates into independent
and dependent set still needed
Large set of equations to be solved

Table 2 Commonly Used Approaches For Handling Constraints


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Equation Degree

The most common practice is to solve the full nonlinear equations to obtain system response. However, in real time scenarios, it
is common to partially linearize the equations. Certain variables are assumed to have small magnitudes. This assumption leads
to simpler equations of motion that can operate in real time.
Flexible bodies are commonly represented as linearly flexible or nonlinearly flexible entities. The component mode synthesis
approach assumes that the deformation of the flexible body can be represented as a linear combination of spatially dependent
mode shapes and time dependent modal states. This leads to significant simplification of the equations of motion for flexible
bodies. It also brings with it limitations on where the flexible body can be used. In the presence of contact, it is much more
standard to utilize a fully nonlinear, nodal-based representation for a flexible body. The modal representation is normally used for
non-contact applications; the nodal representation is used for large deformation or nonlinear applications.


Most systems being analyzed are three-dimensional in nature. However there are large classes of systems that are partially or fully
two-dimensional in nature. Chain and belt systems are examples of systems generally modeled in two dimensions. See Figure 26:
Examples of two-dimensional systems (Keilriemen), (Kaboldy), (Wikimedia Commons).

Figure 26: Examples Of Two-Dimensional Systems (Keilriemen), (Kaboldy), (Wikimedia Commons)

In some cases, it is advantageous to use both two-dimensional and three-dimensional modeling entities. Two-dimensional
subsystems are allowed to reside within a general three-dimensional system model.

Numerical Integration Methods

A wide variety of numerical integrators may be used to solve the underlying equations for a multi-body system. Some commonly
used methods are listed below.
Non-stiff, multi-step integrators (Adams-Moulton, etc.): Well suited to problems that contain low damping. They are well
suited for physically stiff problems (high, undamped frequencies) but are notoriously inefficient for numerically stiff (heavily
damped) problems. Non-stiff methods cannot solve DAEs. If an equation formulation results in DAEs, constraint-handling
methods that generate an underlying ODE are required for these integrators.
Stiff integrators: Well suited for problems that are heavily damped. The damping may come from components such as
bushings and dampers or controller gains. Stiff integrators are also well suited for directly solving the DAE representing
mechanical systems. Well known, publicly available, stiff integrators are:
(1) DIFSUB (,
(2) DASSL & DASPK (,
Single step methods: Well suited for problems with many discontinuities, for example, problems dominated by contact.
Methods such as Runge-Kutta-Fehlberg and Radau are used in such situations.
Second order methods: Commonly used in structural analysis, are being introduced into the MBS context. GeneralizedAlpha, Hilber-Hughes-Taylor, Newmark-, and Houbolt are examples of such integrators. These integrators are equipped


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

with user-controlled parameters that explicitly control the amount of numerical damping that is introduced into the system.
Numerical damping improves the robustness of the algorithm at the expense of accuracy. These methods are quite efficient
for problems dominated by contact.
For static simulations, the force imbalance method is normally used, where the nonlinear force-balance equations are solved
using Newton-Raphson iterations. An alternate strategy for finding static equilibrium positions is by maximizing the kinetic energy
of the system. In the absence of dissipative forces, the system is conservative, i.e. the sum of the potential and kinetic energies is
a constant. This implies that the position of maximum kinetic energy is also a position of minimum potential energy, i.e. a stable
static equilibrium position.
For quasistatic analysis simulations, the Newton-Raphson methods normally used are very accurate but quite slow. New methods
that rely on a numerical integrator to advance through time have recently been developed. These methods are very fast and
accurate because the integrator decides the step size to take and when to evaluate the Jacobian.

Equation Types

For dynamic simulations (Altair Engineering), the most advanced MBS solutions offer a variety of approaches to generate different
sets of equations:
The ODE formulation: supports both stiff and non-stiff integrators. In this approach, the DAE form of the equations of
motion is first transformed into ODE form using a transformation such as coordinate partitioning or velocity transformation.
Then the resulting ODE equations are solved using an ODE integrator. Both stiff and non-stiff integrators are supported. The
stiff integrators supported by this formulation can be (a) LSODE, (b) MEBDFI, or (c) an Implicit Runge-Kutta Method (IRKF).
Integrators based on Adams-Bashforth/Adams-Moulton or Runge-Kutta-Fehlberg methods are commonly used to integrate
numerically non-stiff equations.
The Index-3 (I3) formulation: provides the DAE form of the equations of motion to an integrator, such as DASPK. In the
I3 formulation, the integrator does not monitor the integration local error in the velocity or Lagrange multiplier states.
Consequently, I3 solutions typically tend to be very fast, though sometimes slightly inaccurate in velocities.
The Stabilized Index-2 (SI2) formulation: Discovered by Gear, Gupta and Leimkuhler in 1985. These equations are stabilized
in the sense that both displacements and velocities are consistent with the system constraints. A DAE integrator such as
DASPK is capable of solving the SI2 form of the equations of motion. The integrator monitors the local integration error in
the displacement and velocity states, but not in the Lagrange multipliers. SI2 solutions typically tend to be accurate. The
typical speed of SI2 solutions, compared to I3 solutions, is somewhat slower.
The Stabilized Index-1 (SI1) formulation: An extension to the SI2 formulation, it provides an even more consistent index-1
DAE form of the equations of motion to an integrator. A DAE integrator such as DASPK is capable of solving the SI1 form
of the equations of motion. In the SI1 formulation, the integrator monitors the local integration error in the displacement,
velocity, and Lagrange multiplier states. Consequently, SI1 solutions typically tend to be very accurate. The typical speed of
SI1 solutions, compared to SI2 or I3 solutions, is somewhat slower.

Linear Algebraic Solvers

The innermost loop of the solution process in any MBS solver consists of the solution of a set of linear algebraic equations. It is
therefore extremely important that robust and efficient methods be used to solve this problem. Linear solvers can be classified
into three broad categories: (a) Dense solvers, (b) Sparse solvers, and (c) Iterative solvers.
Dense solvers are used when most of the values in the matrix are non-zero. Most formulations result in the creation of nonsymmetric matrices. For these situations, a standard Gaussian elimination procedure is used. Some formulations, such as the
Augmented Lagrangian Method, lead to symmetric, positive definite matrices. For these scenarios, Cholesky decomposition
methods are used.
Sparse solvers are applicable when a majority (more than 95%) of the entries in a matrix is known to always be zero. These methods
avoid using the zero valued entries in any of their calculations. Sparse matrices most commonly occur when either the Cartesian
coordinates or Natural coordinates are used to represent a system. Direct solution methods are commonly used. Furthermore,
since the pattern of non-zeroes in the matrix does not change, symbolic LU factorization methods are commonly employed.
The matrix is symbolically factorized once at the beginning of the simulation. These symbolic factors are used throughout the


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

simulation to repeatedly solve the linear problem.

Iterative solvers are necessary when large problems are being solved. Large problems result when solving contact problems that
involve nonlinear flex bodies. These are fundamentally nonlinear Finite Element (FE) problems that have the added complexity of
also including large rigid body motion.

How To Select A Solution Strategy

The previous section elaborates on the different choices that are available for formulating and solving a multi-body problem. Two
important questions need to be answered in this context, (a) Are these choices really necessary? (b) How does one choose an
appropriate solution strategy?
The physical characteristics of the phenomena or system being modeled and the equations generated by the modeling approach
determine the nature of the underlying solution. Therefore, it is necessary to choose solution strategies that are based on a
rational selection method. The state-of-the-art today can be characterized as follows: there is no one best way to solve all problems
and the problem characteristics dictate the solution strategies that are most appropriate.
To illustrate these ideas, consider a typical problem in the automotive industry. The performance of suspensions and their dynamic
behavior are important attributes of a car. A key responsibility of the suspension is to filter out road roughness away from the driver.
To accomplish this task, bushings are used to connect the various parts in a suspension. These bushings are highly damped so
that forces and vibrations from tire-road interactions are decreased before they reach the driver. Suspensions typically move in
three dimensions during their operation, and many suspension topologies contain closed kinematic loops. During operation, it
is possible that a suspension may bottom out i.e. suspension travel is curtailed by contact at the jounce bumper when the car
goes through a deep pothole.
The typical set of equations governing a suspension is index-3 DAE; the kinematic loops will generate constraint equations. The
presence of shock absorbers and highly damped bushings indicate that the problem is numerically stiff, i.e. the higher frequencies
are over-damped, whereas the lower frequencies are marginally over-damped or even under-damped. In this case, a stiff integrator
should be selected. Furthermore, experience has shown that direct index-3 solutions provide accurate answers at the fastest
computational speed. The presence of impact events indicates that a variable order, variable step integrator is needed. This allows
the integrator to take small steps when a contact event occurs.
Based on the above analysis, one can conclude that the following choices are logical when simulating automobile suspensions:
3D modeling since the suspension moves in three dimensions
Equations in index-3 DAE form
Lagrange multipliers to handle constraints
BDF integrator to handle the DAE characterizing the system
Symbolic Jacobian calculations for speed purposes
Sparse LU algorithms with symbolic factorization if Jacobian is sparse


Design Of Experiments And Optimization

Design Of Experiments

Design of Experiments (DOE) is a series of tests in which purposeful changes are made to system design variables to investigate
their effect on the system performance. DOE is performed to understand how design variables affect system performance. DOE
problems are typically performed for the following reasons:
To determine the input variables and the variable interactions that are most influential on the system performance
To determine the values of the design variables so that:

The output responses are tuned to the desired values.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Variability in output response is small.

The effects of uncontrolled variables are minimized.

To construct an approximation that can be used for fast and accurate design-variation studies
Since DOE originally started in physical testing, classical DOE methods deal with testing behaviors and issues. Lately, more CAEoriented methods such as Latin Hypercube and Hammersley have been developed. Most commercial solutions for DOE simulation
feature Full Factorial, Fractional Factorial, Plackett-Burman, Orthogonal arrays, Box-Behnken, Latin Hypercube, and Hammersley
methods for determining the set of experiments required to characterize system behavior.


Conventional design processes are intuitive and rely on the designers experience and knowledge of the problem being solved.
When new problems are to be solved, or dramatically better solutions are to be obtained, the entire problem space needs to
be explored. Therefore, conventional design processes need to be augmented with optimization-driven-design processes that
can systematically explore the entire design space. Optimization-driven-design is the use of mathematical procedures to help
engineers realize a design that maximizes the design objective(s) while satisfying manufacturing and other physical constraints.
This process is formal and automated. When properly implemented it allows engineers to focus on finding the right solution for
their problem.
The optimization problem is mathematically expressed as:

f(x) = f ( x1 , x 2 , , x n )

Minimize :
Subject to :

g j ( x) 0

j = 1, , m

hk ( x) = 0

k = 1, , m h

x iL x i x iU

i = 1, , n

Figure 27: A Typical Formulation For Optimization Problems

There are three steps in defining an optimization problem.

a. Identify design variables: These are system parameters such as geometrical dimensions, hard-point locations, damping
properties, and design shape (x in Figure 27) that can be changed to improve the system performance.
a. Identify objective function(s): System performance measures that must be minimized (maximized) such as mass, displacement,
and cost. These responses should be functions of the design variables (f(x) in Figure 27: A typical formulation for optimization
a. Identify constraint functions: System requirements that must be satisfied for the design to be feasible such as requirements
on stresses and displacements. These functions should also be functions of the design variables (g(x) and h(x) in Figure 27)
Depending on the nature of the design variables, objective functions, and constraints, optimization problems can be classified as
constrained, discrete, or multi-objective problems.
Three groups of methods are commonly used for solving optimization problems: local approximation methods, global approximation
methods, and exploratory methods. Local approximation methods require design sensitivities and are suitable for linear static,
dynamic, and multi-body simulations. Global approximation methods are suitable for nonlinear problems. Finally, exploratory
methods are suitable for discrete problems and nonlinear simulations, but they are expensive, as they require a large number
of analyses. Optimization problems may be solved using DOE methods or sensitivity based methods as shown in Figure 28: A
comparison of DOE and DSA based design optimization processes.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 28: A Comparison Of DOE And DSA Based Design Optimization Processes

DOE and optimization methodologies are especially important for MBS since:
a. The MBS model usually represents an entire system. These methods provide engineers with methods to improve the
performance of the entire system.
b. The CPU time required to complete an MBS simulation is usually shorter than the CPU time required for other simulation
disciplines (FEA, CFD, etc.). Therefore, the user has the ability to perform multiple simulations without being limited in the
exploration and optimization of the design by lengthy computations and major computational resource requirements.
Sheet metal forming in the manufacturing industry provides an interesting example of optimization procedures applied to MBS
models. Competitive pressures require the validation of the manufacturing process starting from a very early engineering phase.
Die manufacturers are required to minimize press downtime. This is accomplished by using sheet metal forming simulation
methods coupled with DOE and optimization techniques to allow them to analyze and improve the most complex manufacturing
issues at the very beginning of the engineering process.
Altair (Altair Engineering) describes a sensitivity approach for an MBS model coupled with a stochastic analysis method suitable for
stamping simulations. The modeling starts with CAD models of the die structures and the stamping process. A detailed MBS model
is created from the CAD information. Details of the scrap shedding process including information such as body masses, inertias,
and contact between die structures, sheet metal, and scrap are accounted for. Stochastic analysis yields possible shedding
positions. Sensitivity analyses of the process provide a virtual validation of the manufacturing process.
Suspension design provides another interesting example of optimization techniques applied to MBS simulation. ARRK is developing
an innovative form of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) based on a fundamental reappraisal of the transport needs of a city. It is
designed to meet the expectations of passengers, i.e. be convenient, inexpensive, reliable, safe, and easy to use. It is also required
to satisfy public demands for value, including cost, ease of construction, and environmental benefit (ARRK Technical Services).
See Figure 29 below.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 29: Personal Rapid Transit Vehicle Physical And Virtual MBS Prototype (Courtesy Of ARRK)

In this case, MBS techniques have been used in conjunction with an independent (parametric) whole vehicle handling simulation
in order to develop the suspension properties to meet specific cascaded targets, to optimize a weighing strategy, to predict forces
under a variety of quasi-static and dynamic loads, and to estimate system response to track inputs.
The suspension design requirements included a tight turning circle, the accommodation of a large variation in load magnitude and
location, and high roll stiffness (to keep the vehicle sensors aligned). It also mandated levels of occupant comfort comparable to
that of a small passenger car. The steering and drive systems were to provide a linear, well damped response to control inputs.
Also included were typical durability requirements involving the ability to withstand repeated acceleration, braking, and cornering
loads, as well as abuse cases arising from striking obstacles on the track.
Through the use of MBS tools, ARRK has been able to optimize every elasto-kinematic property of the suspension system in
parallel to all other characteristics and achieved an acceptable set of ride and handling characteristics.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?


Industry Applications

MBS utilizes physics-based methods to accurately predict the operating performance of a product. These generic capabilities are
useful in a wide variety of industries. Some key markets for MBS are shown in Figure 3: Some target markets for MBS technology.

Figure 30: Some Target Markets For MBS Technology

The vision for MBS throughout all industries is to minimize design and development bottlenecks encountered in a product
development process, while at the same time encouraging innovation, improving overall product quality, and reducing the time
required to bring a product to market. MBS technology has proven to be a valuable computational solution in many applications in
a variety of industries. Examples of significant applications are:
a. In the automotive industry, MBS commercial solutions have been mainly used to design and evaluate new and better
suspension systems, to optimize the ride and handling characteristics of passenger vehicles, to evaluate the durability of
the system, and help validate mechatronic components.
b. MBS technology is widely employed in the aerospace and aircraft industries, for example, for the analysis of the automatic
control systems used to maintain the altitude of satellites, to minimize the interaction between the control system and
mechanical structure, and the design of various other mechanisms, such as landing gears and latching devices for aircraft
c. In the general machinery industry, MBS solutions are used to compute and analyze the design of the intricate mechanisms
in cameras, video recorders, and computer disk drives, as well as in designing robotic systems and the high-speed switching
mechanisms for electrical relays.
This chapter covers a wide range of examples in many different industries, detailing the value of MBS solutions for each industry.

4.4.1 Automotive
CAE software tools are now commonly used in the automotive industry. MBS tools are used in a variety of ways to solve many
different problems. This section focuses on applications in the areas of chassis, powertrain, body, and components.


The term chassis refers to the frame plus the running gear such as engine, transmission, driveshaft, differential, and suspension.
A body is built on the chassis to complete the vehicle.
The automotive chassis provides the necessary strength to support the vehicle components and the payload placed upon it. The
suspension system contains the springs, the shock absorbers, and other components that allow the vehicle to pass over uneven


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

terrain without an excessive amount of shock reaching the passengers or cargo. The steering mechanism, an integral portion of
the chassis, provides the operator with a means for controlling the direction of travel. The tires grip the road surface to provide
good traction enabling the vehicle to accelerate, brake, and make turns without skidding. The suspension and tires absorb most
of the shock caused by road irregularities.
Typical chassis applications of MBS are in the areas of:
Suspension design
Vehicle dynamics, handling, and ride analysis
Durability of chassis frame or other components
Low frequency vibration avoidance
Steering system design and optimization
Suspension Design
MBS tools are used to design front and rear suspensions. The design process, though not the same at all companies, generally
entails the following steps:
Describing the desired vehicle behavior quantitatively
Selecting front and rear suspension types that meet system constraints
Choosing the location of the hard points that define suspension kinematics
Defining system compliance (bushing, shock, spring definitions)
Analyzing loads in the suspension for typical maneuvers such as ride and roll
Improving system performance by modifying the spring rates
Finalizing shock absorber characteristics
Detailed component analysis and design
Packaging studies to evaluate if design can accommodate suspension travel
Full vehicle dynamic studies to understand suspension performance
Many MBS tools have customized modeling and analysis interfaces that make these tasks relatively straightforward. These
customized interfaces provide modeling elements, analyses, and output that a suspension designer can easily understand. Thus,
modeling elements such as an upper control arm, stabilizer bar, bushing, shock absorber, and spring are available to build
suspension models.
The different types of suspension analyses performed are summarized in Figure 31: Typical suspension analyses performed with
MBS software. MBS analysis tools offer the opportunity to evaluate several parameters (wheel load variation, body isolation,
handling load control, kinematic and compliant wheel plane control, and component loading environment), investigating design
strategies for whole systems, and setting design targets for components to verify the performance of proposed designs (Blundell
and Harty).


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 31: Typical Suspension Analyses Performed With MBS Software

McLaren (McLaren Technology Centre) shows the value of MBS simulation in identifying the best suspension design for a high
performance sports car. MBS was used to perform initial assessments of suspension kinematics and compliance characteristics.
Statistics based DOE methods were used to optimize system performance. Traditionally compliance effects are considered later
in the vehicle development. However, with a requirement to significantly shorten development time and improve the design, the
engineering team was required to include suspension compliance effects in simulation from the beginning of the project.
In this suspension study, the events of interest were kinematics and compliance, roll, steer, and vertical bump. Each of these
events could be analyzed in isolation or combined into a single analysis. The suspension model and some relevant results are
displayed in Figure 32: The use of MBS for automotive suspension design and Figure 33: Sample results output for a steer analysis
and a bump analysis. McLaren Automotive dramatically reduced development time through the innovative use of MBS for front
suspension design.

Figure 32: The Use Of MBS For Automotive Suspension Design

Figure 33: Sample Results Output For A Steer Analysis And A Bump Analysis

Alfa Romeo (Alfa Romeo) has coupled MBS analysis with optimization to deliver an innovative suspension design for the 8c

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

competizione sleek concept car. Their goals were to guarantee the highest level of handling performance while maintaining a good
level of comfort. These were met by a new, out-of-the-ordinary, distinctively shaped, double-wishbone front and rear suspension.
It includes all new arms and linkages designed with optimization methods.

Figure 34: The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione (Courtesy Of Alfa Romeo)

To develop the front and rear suspensions, the chassis development team had to: 1) identify suspension characteristics and
component specifications for optimal performance; 2) develop 3D CAD models and drawings of the suspension components; and
3) validate the structural performance of every suspension component under various linear and nonlinear conditions using CAE
To minimize development time, a combined multi-body and structural approach was adopted. Packaging analyses were done with
MBS simulations that also considered component compliances. Suspension performance targets were achieved by performing
kinematics and compliance calculations within an optimization loop. Optimization was used to determine suspension hard-point
locations and the elastic characteristics of various connectors (bushings, spring, anti-roll bar, and bump stops) while satisfying
stringent packaging requirements for the car body, powertrain, ground clearance, and the internal suspension.
Vehicle Dynamics
Vehicle Dynamics is the study of the handling and ride/comfort performance of an automobile, particularly in the lateral direction,
while it is performing different maneuvers. MBS is one of the primary technologies used to evaluate and improve vehicle dynamics
Any vehicle requires the following desirable handling characteristics:
A good tire road grip in all operating conditions
Good stability during turns, i.e. the vehicle follows the turn easily
Quick response to steering inputs
A steady build-up of lateral forces with manageable lateral accelerations
Small wheel load fluctuations due to vehicle maneuvers and road roughness
Handling and braking are important components of vehicle safety because rapid maneuvers are sometimes used in emergencies.
Vehicle rollover accidents account for only 3% of accidents, however, they constitute 31% of all fatalities. Therefore, vehicle
performance in these situations needs to be well understood.
Ride and comfort include these characteristics:
Good suspension and damping properties to filter out road disturbances
Minimal suspension and steering shake because of tire run-out and imbalance


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Reasonable steering effort for parking and driving maneuvers

Good NVH behavior such as low running noise.
Inputs that significantly affect the dynamics of a vehicle are:
Tire forces due to interaction with the road
Driver behavior during braking, acceleration, steering, and gear setting
Aerodynamic forces such as drag, lift, and cross-wind forces
These inputs act through the suspension system to the chassis and eventually the driver. They define the behavior of the vehicle
as it accelerates, brakes, and turns through a wide range of speeds and types of roads.
When analyzing automotive handling, some issues normally considered are:
Suspension travel during standard maneuvers to avoid jounce and rebound
Track and wheelbase effects on sideways and front-back weight transfer
Steering system performance including steering force, transmission of road loads to steering wheel, and power-steering
subsystem design
Weight distribution, especially the location of the CG of the sprung mass that can affect under steering behavior and
vehicle stability during cornering
Electronic stability control to detect and correct loss of steering control by selective braking of wheels
Flexibility of the frame and its effects on handling behavior
The individual influence of these actions on the overall handling performance of the vehicle can be thoroughly investigated with
the help of MBS solutions, and an optimum layout fulfilling the design targets can be automatically obtained with the support of
DOE and optimization technologies. Many MBS tools have customized modeling and analysis interfaces to facilitate such analyses.
For more information on vehicle dynamics applications involving MBS solutions, see (Nissan Motor Co Ltd).
Durability Of Chassis Frame Or Other Components
Durability is the ability of a product or a component to withstand failure due to fatigue, corrosion, wear, and creep. In most
durability situations, the predominant failure mode is fatigue. Fatigue is defined as failure due to repeated cyclic load, well below
the failure strength of the material. Therefore, fatigue life prediction is a critical element in the creation of long lasting products.
Products should be validated and optimized for the dynamic loads to which they are exposed during their operation. There is a
need for durable products across all industries; this section focuses on the durability evaluation of the chassis of an automobile.

Figure 35: The Typical Process For Measuring Chassis Durability

In conventional vehicle development, the fatigue strength of the chassis and its components is evaluated through physical testing.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Since a complete set of component load and stress measurements is hard to obtain, field-testing is commonly augmented with
laboratory measurement. The typical process for determining vehicle durability is shown in Figure 36.
Through coupled MBS, FE, and fatigue simulations, the need for physical testing can be minimized. Virtual durability testing is
performed in two ways:
Semi-analytical durability evaluation
Analytical durability evaluation
Semi analytical durability evaluation can be condensed into five key steps:
Experimental measurement: The first step is to define a duty cycle for the test product. The vehicle is instrumented with
wheel force transducers to capture the time history of the loads on each of the spindles. The vehicle is driven over different
road conditions on the test track. A duty cycle representative of real-life usage is then synthesized.
MBS: The second step in the process is to perform virtual testing with the duty cycle to determine component loads. An
MBS model of the vehicle is placed on an MBS model of a test rig. The duty cycle is fed as input to virtual actuators in
the virtual test rig. These apply the excitation either to the tires or directly to the spindles of the vehicle model. An MBS
simulation of the combined vehicle and test rig with a synthesized duty cycle is performed. Components of interest are
virtually instrumented so that load time histories at the attachment points of the component are obtained.
FEA: A unit loads FE analysis of the component is then performed. Unit loads are applied in each of the six directions at
each of the attachment points. The stress or strain state for the unit loads is generated.
Fatigue analysis: The material model for the component is defined. The unit results from FEA are scaled with the loading
obtained from MBS and a fatigue analysis of the component is performed.
Post-processing: The MBS, FE, and fatigue results are visualized to understand the durability behavior of the component.
This process is graphically illustrated in Figure 36: The semi-analytical process for chassis durability evaluation. Experimentally
measured loads are provided as input to a virtual vehicle model..

Figure 36: The Semi-Analytical Process For Chassis Durability Evaluation. Experimentally Measured Loads Are Provided As Input To A Virtual Vehicle Model.

Semi-analytical approaches are useful because they can be done quickly; they reduce the need for physical testing. When physical
prototypes are not available, a fully analytical approach is required. Analytical approaches avoid the use of physical prototypes and
experimental measurement. The prototype is tested entirely in the virtual world. The role of MBS in this scenario is to mimic the
proving ground tests.
Analytical durability evaluation can be condensed into four steps:
System level testing: An MBS model of the system is built. This system is validated first. Then it is exercised in exactly the
same way one would have tested a physical model if it were available. The duty cycle is implicitly imposed by performing an
MBS simulation of the true physical test.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

FEA: A unit loads FE analysis of the component is then performed. Unit loads are applied in each of the six directions at
each of the attachment points. The stress or strain state for the unit loads is generated. This step is the same as for semianalytical approaches.
Fatigue analysis: The material model for the component is defined. The unit results from FEA are scaled with the loading
obtained from MBS and a fatigue analysis of the component is performed. This step is the same as for semi-analytical
Post-processing: The MBS, FE, and fatigue results are visualized to understand the durability behavior of the component.
This step is the same as for semi-analytical approaches.

This approach is summarized in Figure 37: The analytical process f or chassis durability evaluation. A virtual car is driven on a
virtual proving ground. Component load histories from the simulation are used to assess their fatigue life..

Figure 37: The Analytical Process F Or Chassis Durability Evaluation. A Virtual Car Is Driven On A Virtual Proving Ground. Component Load Histories From The
Simulation Are Used To Assess Their Fatigue Life.

Analytical durability evaluation is more compute-intensive than semi-analytical approaches. Furthermore, it is hard to validate
results against real experiments since physical prototypes are not available. For these two reasons, fully analytical approaches
are not common today. However, with the development of new computer validation techniques and faster computer systems, the
approach is gaining acceptance.
The analytical approach may be used in other scenarios as well. The durability evaluation of automobile doors is an example, as
illustrated in Figure 37. This approach is general; it can also be applied to other products. See (Chrysler) and (nCode International)
for more information.

Low-Frequency Vibration
System-level vibration and acoustic prediction are still very challenging and largely based on experimental techniques. However,
leading automotive companies can now also predict automobile Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) behavior on a computer
using physics based approaches.
NVH covers a broad range of frequencies and has a wide range of effects. Consequently, a number of different techniques are
used to predict automobile NVH behavior. Table 3 summarizes the current state-of-the-art.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Frequency Range
Low: 0-20 Hz.


Solution Technique
MBS models and low fidelity FE models

Mid: 20-200 Hz


Time and frequency based analyses

Detailed FE and Boundary Element models

High: > 200 Hz.


Frequency based analyses

Statistical Energy Analysis

Sound pressure
Table-3: NVH Phenomena And Corresponding Solution Techniques

The principal use of MBS in NVH is in the lower frequencies, between 0-20Hz, the frequency range at which the ride quality of
automobiles is affected. MBS models with adequate fidelity are needed for predicting ride behavior. Connectors are required to
contain frequency and amplitude dependent behavior. High fidelity tire models are necessary for accurately transmitting forces
from the road to the vehicle. Finally, rigid body models are not adequate; the flexural behavior of the structural members must be
taken into account. Under these circumstances, MBS models have correlated quite well with experimental measurements.
Historically, NVH engineers have used FE tools to predict the vibration behavior of vehicle structures. The availability of verified
system data from MBS provides an interesting option for downstream NVH analyses, the reuse of validated chassis subsystems
developed for MBS in subsequent NVH analysis.
A recent example found in literature (BMW) describes the use of a linearized MBS model of a chassis for FE based NVH analysis.
This process enables the NVH team to reuse validated chassis models from MBS to perform full vehicle NVH response analysis
in an FE environment. With this approach, time consuming and costly model validation is avoided. This is illustrated in Figure 4.9.

Figure 38: Subsystem Exchange Between MBS And FE For Full Vehicle NVH Analysis. Validated Chassis Models From MBS Are Used In NVH Studies.

Steering System Design And Optimization

Steering is the term applied to the collection of components that accept driver input and make the vehicle follow a desired course.
A common steering arrangement is to turn the front wheels using a hand operated steering wheel, which is positioned in front


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

of the driver. The steering input is transmitted via the steering column and steering linkage to the front wheels. Other types of
arrangements are also found on vehicles, for example, a tiller or rearwheel steering.
Most modern cars use rack and pinion steering mechanisms, where the steering wheel turns a pinion gear. The pinion meshes
with a rack, which converts circular pinion motion into linear motion along the transverse axis of the car (side to side). This motion
applies steering torque to the kingpins of the steered wheels via tie rods and a short lever arm called the steering arm (see Figure
39: A typical steering system for a car (Wikimedia Commons)).

Figure 39: A Typical Steering System For A Car (Wikimedia Commons)

Older designs often use a recirculating ball mechanism, which is still found on trucks and utility vehicles.
Automakers have developed power steering systems that reduce the steering effort on vehicles by using an external power source
to assist in turning the road wheels. There are two types of power steering systems - hydraulic and electric/electronic. A hydraulicelectric hybrid system is also possible.
Steering systems such as those described above can be modeled with high fidelity using a combination of MBS, hydraulics, and
control approaches. When different software packages are used to model the mechanical, hydraulic, and control subsystems, a
co-simulation approach is commonly used. For simpler models, the entire system may be modeled in MBS software.
Through the proper selection of type and position of u-joints, shafts, and vibration reducers, any system can be designed or
modified to result in a car that is not only safe, but also a pleasure to drive.


In a land vehicle, powertrain refers to the group of components that generate power and deliver it to the road surface. This
includes the engine, transmission, drive shafts, differentials, and the wheels. Sometimes powertrain is used to refer to simply
the engine and transmission. Other components are included only if they are integral to the transmission.
Simulation is an efficient approach to reduce not only the cost but the time needed for engine development. An idealized fourstage process for powertrain development is shown in Figure 40. Powertrain simulation spans the regimes from purely virtual,
off-line simulations used in design and analysis to hybrid test-bed simulations used for validating the hardware (AVL Graz).


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 40: The Four-Stage Development Process For Powertrains. Detailed Design Is Done With Off-Line Simulations With Virtual Components. Validation Of
The Control Components Is Performed With Hil Simulations. As More Components Of The System Become Available, Lab Testing And Hardware Calibration Are

Offline simulations of a vehicle powertrain are normally performed at the beginning of the engine development process. These
simulations are performed to:
Understand engine performance for various driving conditions
Optimize transmission ratios and gear shifting strategies
Compare alternative powertrain concepts
Determine loads for subsequent durability analyses
Predict engine noise and vibration
Minimize the number of variants created for physical testing
The final product of offline simulations is a clear specification for the powertrain system and its major components.
For offline simulations, MBS is used to build and analyze detailed subsystems. Figure 41: Examples of MBS technology applications
for powertrain analysis shows some applications.

Figure 41: Examples Of MBS Technology Applications For Powertrain Analysis


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Other offline applications include:

A predictive model of a complete engine piston/con-rod/crankshaft system, including a flexible crankshaft and combustion
pressure on piston
Load calculations for optimizing crankshaft shape to reduce its weight
Evaluating the influence of piston shape on piston slap phenomenon
Simulation of the engine block vibration
Simulation of engine-mount characteristics that affect car noise and vibration
Valve-train simulations that include a flexible cam shaft
Development and optimization of gear trains used to drive the cam shafts
Simulation of tensioner and chain in a timing chain to predict chain loads
Simulation of a complete drive train including suspension characteristics
Evaluation of manual transmissions including gear shift performance
Evaluation of the performance of a continuously variable transmission
Simulation of forces generated on races and balls of a constant velocity joint
Simulation of a driveline subsystem including driveshaft torsional vibration
Most commercially available MBS software solutions deal with a powertrain model as a generic multi-body model. Certain
subsystems such as chain and belt drives do however require special recursive formulation techniques for efficient equation
formulation and solution.
Once the conceptual decisions for a powertrain have been made, the physical control systems of the engine (ECU) and the
transmission (TCU) can be combined with a real-time capable, virtual engine model for evaluating the control systems. This is an
example of Hardware-in-the-Loop or HIL simulation. During initial design, the basic functions of the control unit were simulated
with offline simulations. Now, the actual control units take over this role. The goals for these simulations are:
Test of the ECU, TCU, cable harness, sensors, and actuators
Communication test of the control units using CANbus, a vehicle bus (a specialized internal communications network that
interconnects components inside a vehicle) standard designed to allow microcontrollers and devices to communicate with
each other within a vehicle without a host computer.
Engine engagement at gear shifting and failure diagnosis
Testing the automatic pre-calibrations and parameterization
HIL simulations can identify failure sources and shorten overall testing time on downstream engine and powertrain test beds.
These tests are typically performed in the office laboratory and do not require more expensive test beds. Reduced, conceptual
MBS models are typically used for HIL and test-bed applications. These are commonly referred to as 1D simulators. A typical setup
for performing HIL simulations is shown in Figure 42.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 42: A Common Setup For HIL Simulation

Once the performance of the control systems and their interaction with the virtual vehicle has been ensured, they are evaluated
on a test bed. The control systems are assembled along with the components that have already been developed, such as engine
and transmission.
The test-bed is an environment for evaluating partially assembled systems. The powertrain is mounted on the chassis like a vehicle
skeleton with the body missing. Measurements can be taken around the clock, and critical driving states or entire driving cycles
are tested. The following tasks can be performed on these highly specialized test beds:
Mechanical/electronic integration tests
Driving performance tests
Functional tests and verifications
Parameterizations and calibrations
Drivability assessments
Climate adjustments (with corresponding equipment)
Emission test cycles, possibly with a constant volume sampler (CVS) are commonly used for measurement and analysis of
mass emissions (exhaust) from engines.
Continuous runs for durability studies
NVH studies
The powertrain test bed is an ideal tool for assessing, developing, and optimizing the interaction of all the components. In this
development step, the correction of malfunctions, the testing and refining of the operating strategies and the refilling of the data
records in the control systems are top priorities.
The fourth and last stage, In-Vehicle Calibration, is normally performed after a prototype is available in order to finalize the required
adjustments to the vehicle. The following tests are typically performed.
Road and chassis tests
Verification of the driving performance
Adjustment of drivability
Height/summer/winter trials
Finalizing the data records
NVH optimization

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

The true benefits of MBS (and CAE) solutions are seen in the fourth phase. Vehicles can be developed with fewer prototypes, test
rides, and modifications while improving the quality of the final product.

Body Applications

MBS solutions are also commonly used for solving issues related to the design and optimization of the automotive body and its
main components. Body engineers typically rely on finite element technologies to accomplish their design tasks. MBS solutions are
used in some of these scenarios primarily because it yields much faster solutions without significant loss of accuracy.
Typical automotive body applications where MBS technology has been used successfully are listed below:
Door slam simulation for durability analysis (Toyota Auto Body), performed in order to predict the stress generated during
the door closing operation (same procedure can be applied for example to front door, rear door, and tail gate)
Full vehicle roll-over simulation, in which the contact between tires and ground is simulated through an equivalent vertical
stiffness and the contact between vehicle and ground during roll-over is predicted using the 3D surface-to-surface contact
functionalities described in an earlier section.

Figure 43: Examples Of MBS Technology Applications For Automotive Body Analysis. The Figure On The Left Illustrates The Use Of MBS For Door-Slam
Simulations; The One On The Right For Rollover Situations.

It is not enough for cars today to achieve premium vehicle dynamics. Customers also expect premium feel when opening and closing
doors, tailgates, and hoods. A CAE process based on MBS can be used to optimize the performance and feel of doors opening
and closing. Such a process can ensure that the design (including manufacturing tolerances) meets its targets for handling effort.
The modeling components that are needed to capture the dynamics of a door opening and closing are the following:
Seals, for which stiffness, damping, and position data are needed
Hinges, for which position and friction information are needed
Check link, modeled as a simple rotational torque or as a detailed component using 3D contact
Latch, modeled using a translational force, positioned at the actual latch position
Air evacuation model, represented through an additional rotational torque applied at the hinge, or as a distributed force on
the seal elements
Quasi-static simulations are used to simulate a door opening and closing, and validate whether the hinge line and check link
designs allow you to achieve the ergonomic targets. Dynamic simulations verify how hinge line, check link, seals, and air evacuation
influence the closing and verify that the door will fully latch.
The full modeling, analysis, and reporting process can be automated using a dedicated software framework that extracts data
from a FE model of the door and automatically creates a corresponding MBS model, and then runs DOE studies to provide the
design department with a comprehensive set of outputs.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

MBS models have also been used to analyze on-duty conditions of the entire door assembly. Effects such as body flexibility and
manufacturing tolerance variability are taken into account. For more information, see (Fiat Auto SpA; Altair Eng.) and (CAE Value).


MBS is also used extensively in the design and performance optimization of many automotive components. Figure 44: Examples of
MBS technology applications for automotive components simulation: hydraulic brake device, door lock mechanism, and gearbox
illustrates three examples.

Figure 44: Examples Of MBS Technology Applications For Automotive Components Simulation: Hydraulic Brake Device, Door Lock Mechanism, And Gearbox

Typical applications where MBS has been successfully used are:

Evaluation and optimization of the performance of a disk brake system
Simulation of a manual clutch mechanism model coupled with the drive-train components
Retractable seat models to evaluate the forces required to retract and extract the seat
Windshield wiper mechanisms to maximize the area wiped by the blades
Optimization of lever shape and spring stiffness in door lock mechanisms
Simulation and reduction of the vibration felt by the driver on the shift lever due to a shift change maneuver
Continental (ContiTeves) has used MBS for the design and optimization of a plastic con-rod in the vacuum pump of a hybrid-energy
vehicle. The con-rod, manufactured from glass fiber reinforced plastics is represented with orthotropic material properties. An
equivalent model of the con-rod, represented as a CMS flexible body, is derived from a detailed FE model of the component. The
forces and stresses in the con-rod are evaluated for typical loading scenarios. The MBS model is much faster to solve than the
corresponding FE model. Consequently, it is then used in a DOE solution to minimize the bearing force by optimizing the mass
values and positions.
Subros (Subros) recently applied MBS technologies to design and optimize an airflow control mechanism for a heating, ventilating,
and air conditioning module. In this case, the application proposes a new method for the design validation of HVAC mechanisms
that takes advantage of the possibility of correctly simulating the nonlinearities (big rotations) that characterize the operation of
such mechanisms. In particular, the method allowed one to estimate and reduce the torque that must be applied from the control
panel to operate the mechanism.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 45: MBS Applications For Automotive Components: Con-Rod, Airflow Control Mechanism (Courtesy Of Subros)

Tire, Road, And Driver

In order to represent the complete behavior of a vehicle with MBS, for example simulating complete maneuvering events (such as
a lane change), the use of valid tire, road, and driver models are as important as the development of reliable MBS models of the
vehicle itself.
Tires play a critical role in vehicle simulations; they are the only portion of the vehicle that is in contact with the road. Tires are very
complex entities consisting of rubber, metal, and plastic. Their behavior is influenced by a variety of internal factors such as air
pressure and tread, environmental factors such as temperature and road conditions, and driving conditions such as acceleration,
braking, and turning. The different types of tires available in the market today include:
Passenger car tires
Heavy duty truck tires
Off road vehicle tires
Agricultural and construction equipment tires
Racing tires
A variety of tire models appropriate for specific types of analyses is commercially available today. Tires range from empirical,
steady state tire models commonly used for vehicle handling to detailed finite element models used for misuse tests and tread
design. This section focuses only on tires used in MBS simulations.
In order to couple the tire models with MBS software, a Standard Tire Interface (STI) has been defined. Most tire vendors follow
this convention, making it possible to connect many different tire types to a vehicle model. Different models are used for different
applications. Figure 46: Tire models, applications, and commercial software models shows some of the commercially available
analytical tire models available today and their typical applications.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 46: Tire Models, Applications, And Commercial Software Models

The differences between the tire models are explained below:

a. Handling tire models: These are multi-dimensional spring representations of tires. The stiffness and damping parameters
and force generation algorithms are usually based on the magic formula from Pacejka. In order to model transient effects, a
relaxation length is introduced in the models.
a. Rigid ring tire models: These cover the first mode shapes of the vibrating tire. They are also capable of running in real time
and are an efficient model for low frequency vehicle ride and comfort prediction.
a. Flexible ring tire models: These allow simulations of vehicles over extremely uneven surfaces, and usually run five times
slower than real time. They can be used to model 3D movements and predict groove wear.
Road definition is another important aspect in describing the complete tire-terrain interaction. For vehicle handling analyses, a
flat and incompressible road is usually adequate. For ride, comfort, durability, and NVH analyses, it is critical to model the road
surface accurately. The surface variations affect the overall vehicle response in these areas. Similarly, for off-road vehicles, soil
compaction is an important phenomenon to model. This situation is graphically illustrated in Figure 47: Road models and tire-road
interactions (printed with the permission of Cosin/MBS).

Figure 47: Road Models And Tire-Road Interactions (Printed With The Permission Of Cosin/MBS)


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

In summary, many different types and representations of roads are needed for MBS models. Perhaps the most extensive collection
of road models is available with F-Tire, R-Tire, and H-Tire (cosin scientific software). These tire models can run on a variety of road
definitions, including the following:

Figure 48: Road Models Available From COSIN/MBS

For more information on tire and road models, see (Esslingen University).
Lastly, realistic human driver models are required to perform detailed simulations of real-life maneuvers. This is common in
vehicle handling studies and motorsport applications. In motorsports applications, for instance, it is essential to estimate and
optimize the performance of a vehicle on a given road. The human driver is usually represented as a complex control system. This
model is characterized by a large number of variables that depend upon the particular operation being performed by the driver.
The following operations describe typical driver scenarios in vehicle dynamics simulations:
Straight line acceleration
Steady state circular driving
Starting from stand still
Three-point turn
Driving over rough road
Technology available today (VIF - Virtual Vehicle Competence Center) allows for realistic representations of driver behavior for
vehicle handling studies. The driver model consists of at least three controllers with several sub-controllers that interact with each
Figure 49: A driver model. Modeled as a hierarchical control system, it consists of three connected controllers that govern speed,
steering, and gearbox behavior. provides a schematic of a generic driver model. The driver consists of three key components: a
speed controller, a gearbox controller, and a steering controller. These are explained in a little more detail below.

Figure 49: A Driver Model. Modeled As A Hierarchical Control System, It Consists Of Three Connected Controllers That Govern Speed, Steering, And Gearbox


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

The speed controller controls the speed of the simulation vehicle by actuating the throttle and the brake pedal. The outputs of the
speed controller are pedal position or pedal force. Three separate sub-controllers monitor and control various aspects of vehicle
Velocity controller: Tracks a pre-defined demand speed profile
Longitudinal acceleration controller: Controls acceleration in order to set a demand longitudinal acceleration
Lateral acceleration controller: Controls a demand lateral acceleration while the vehicle is following a circular path
The steering controller actuates steering wheel angle by outputting steering wheel torque. Two sub-controllers deal with different
control inputs:
Lateral acceleration controller: Controls steering input to follow a demand lateral acceleration while the vehicle travels at
an approximately constant speed
Path controller: Given an arbitrary path {x, y, z} as function of the traveled distance, steers the vehicle to follow the described
The outputs of the gearbox controller are gear and clutch pedal position or force. Two sub-controllers are needed:
Open loop: The driver model shifts gears and modulates the clutch to prevent the engine from over speeding or stalling.
Upshifts, downshifts, clutch engagement, and disengagement are smooth to avoid unrealistic transients.
Starting a vehicle from a standstill: The driver needs to modulate the clutch and throttle to transmit torque from engine to
gearbox with a slipping clutch while preventing the engine from stalling and limiting wheel spin.
All driver controllers and sub-controllers have to be able to drive in reverse. Controller switching needs to be smooth and not induce
any non-physical transients.

Virtual Test Rigs

Virtual test rigs become crucial when traditional development activities are moved upstream and physical prototypes are not
yet available. The task of a virtual test rig is to exercise a computer model just as a real test rig would exercise a physical model.
Virtual test rigs may be used to test virtual components (tire test rig), subsystems (engine test rig), or full vehicle events (ride and
comfort test rigs). Examples found in literature (Dittmann, K.j., DaimlerChrysler Albright F.J., Leser C., MTS) demonstrate the use of
a Virtual Test Laboratory (VTL) for virtual durability testing. Figure 50: Virtual models of functional vehicle prototype and full vehicle
simulator (courtesy of DaimlerChrysler) below, demonstrates a virtual test rig built using software. The test rig is made as real as
possible, to the extent that it even includes the transfer function of the test rig itself. This takes into account, the dynamics of the
test rig when it is applying input to the virtual car.

Figure 50: Virtual Models Of Functional Vehicle Prototype And Full Vehicle Simulator (Courtesy Of DaimlerChrysler)


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

4.4.2 Aerospace


General-purpose MBS solutions provide accurate predictions of aerospace systems behavior. They are often the only way to test
the system. MBS tools are used to model passenger jets, helicopters, satellites, autonomous planetary vehicles, and comet probes.
Additionally, major subsystems such as landing gear, control flaps, doors, and latches are also analyzed using MBS techniques.
Satellite systems are subject to environmental loads such as ground disturbances, aerodynamic loading, gravitational gradients,
and solar pressure. Therefore, MBS tools need to support general purpose modeling elements that can be specialized to represent
the above phenomena. Special purpose software to model these phenomena often exists, so MBS solutions must work with these
Real-time simulation has a special significance in aerospace applications. The systems being built are expensive, and failure often
leads to catastrophic consequences. Real-time simulation is performed using dedicated software on reduced models.
MBS solutions are used in the design and analysis phases. An MBS approach allows you to model complex dynamical systems with
different levels of fidelity in a single modeling environment. A means to generate the simplified real time models from validated
high fidelity models is crucial. Such a capability allows the reuse of validated models, which saves time.
Figure 51: Examples of aircraft applications using MBS solutions. An aircraft contains many subsystems that exhibit large overall
motion. The landing gear and control flap mechanisms depicted here are two examples. shows some common applications in the
aircraft industry.

Figure 51: Examples Of Aircraft Applications Using MBS Solutions. An Aircraft Contains Many Subsystems That Exhibit Large Overall Motion. The Landing Gear
And Control Flap Mechanisms Depicted Here Are Two Examples.

Typical aerospace applications that use MBS solutions include:

Ground aircraft operation including taxi, takeoff, landing, braking, and rejected take-off
Simulation of landing gear retraction mechanism and evaluation of retracting gear forces
Simulation and optimization of flap mechanisms
Simulation of flight control and dynamics
Hydraulics systems design
Simulation of door opening mechanisms (opening times must be minimized in case of emergency)
Packaging study of cabin attendant seat and force evaluation for seat extraction and retraction
Helicopter simulation
Satellite control and event simulation

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Aero-elasticity simulation
Guidance systems design
Stores separation

Landing Gear Design

In aviation, the landing gear (also called undercarriage) is the structure that supports an aircraft on the ground and allows it to taxi.
Landing gear includes wheels equipped with shock absorbers. Some aircraft, however, are equipped with skis for snow or floats
for water. Helicopters may also have skids or pontoons.
Landing gear design and optimization is a typical application handled by MBS. Engineering teams can quickly build a complete,
parameterized model of a landing gear, including its layout, the wheel arrangement, the energy absorption, and other vital
characteristics. The model can then be run through a battery of kinematic, static, and dynamic simulations to determine the
vehicles stability, loads, passenger comfort, and even its flotation properties.
The advantages of using MBS solutions for landing gear systems are the following:
Ability to quickly build, test, and refine aircraft landing gear designs by exploring many alternatives. For example, a user
can change a strut metering pin with a few mouse clicks, instead of waiting for a mechanic to install a new metering pin,
as required with physical testing.
Test designs over a variety of conditions, without having to duplicate those conditions with expensive physical tests. For
example, an ice-covered runway or a special runway can be tested and compared with baseline results in minutes, instead
of waiting months for the right test conditions.
Directly compare the critical data from different virtual tests with side-by-side animations and plots and compare hundreds
of different landing gear designs, before committing to manufacturing or even detailed structural analyses.

Figure 52: A Typical Landing Gear Structure: A Complex System That Moves 3D Space. Pneumatics And Hydraulics Are Used To Define The Behavior Of The

MBS, in conjunction with FEA and hydraulics, can also be used to optimize landing gear system performance. Recently, in a
NAFEMS benchmark, it was demonstrated (Altair Engineering) how a multidisciplinary solution, including topology and shape
optimization, can be applied to the design of the torsion link in landing gear. Through shape optimization, an improved torsion
link and lug could be designed. This design shows a 27% reduction in the weight of the torsion link and a 59% reduction in the
stresses in the lug.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Aircraft Flaps And Slats

Flaps are hinged surfaces on the trailing edge of the wings of a fixed-wing aircraft. They can also be used on the leading edge of the
wings of some high-speed jet aircraft. Flaps increase the camber of the wing airfoil, thus raising the lift coefficient. This allows the
aircraft to generate the required lift at a slower speed. Therefore, extending the flaps will reduce the stalling speed of an aircraft.
Flaps are carefully designed to maximize aircraft performance and safety. Aerodynamic loading is very important. Such forces
can be applied as pressure loads on the flaps. Even though the elastic deformation in the flap is small in comparison to its overall
motion, it significantly affects static and dynamic loads. Therefore, flaps are usually represented as flexible bodies. With MBS
tools, one can understand the operating behavior of the flaps including the transients occurring during flap deployment. An MBS
simulation of a high fidelity flap model can accurately predict the peak loads and oscillations that normally cause structural fatigue
and failure.
MBS simulations can reproduce the behavior of a physical flap test rig. It can be used in place of a physical prototype to tune the
performance of flap subsystems.

Aircraft Flight Control

Aircraft flight control systems consist of control surfaces, cockpit controls, connecting linkages, and the necessary operating
mechanisms to control an aircrafts direction in flight. Flight controls can be purely mechanical or hydro-mechanical; the size of
the aircraft usually determines the overall design. Mechanical and hydro-mechanical flight control systems are heavy and require
careful routing of flight control cables through the aircraft using systems of pulleys, cranks, and wires with hydraulically assisted
controls, and hydraulic pipes. Modern aircraft reduce the need for these with innovative fly-by-wire designs.
Flight control systems are inherently multi-disciplinary in nature. Hydraulic systems are employed to perform actuation. Mechanical
linkages are used to convey pilot input to the control surfaces. Electronics are used to sense aircraft behavior. Control systems
are used to assist the pilot with aircraft control and even take over aircraft operation when asked. A multi-domain approach is
essential to understand the interactions between the diverse subsystems.
The system-level modeling paradigm of MBS fits this need quite well. A system level model consisting of mechanical, hydraulic,
electronic, and control components can be assembled in an MBS tool. The model can be exercised through various events that
mimic realistic operation of the flight control system. Linkage operation, structural stress, fatigue life, hydraulic behavior, and
control algorithm evaluation can be studied and improved. The need for physical prototypes is minimized while designing such a
system; they are only required for validating the design obtained from an MBS simulation.

Ground Maneuvers

An accurate evaluation of aircraft behavior for ground maneuvers, such as landing, taxiing, and take-off, is a key aspect of aircraft
design. The determination of airframe and landing gear loads is one key aspect. Highly dynamic issues such as wheel shimmy and
brake-induced vibrations are two other important areas. Over the last decades, several researchers have developed MBS-based
models to study the dynamic behavior of an aircraft on the ground. Subsystems including elastic landing gear, tires, braking, and
steering systems have been studied extensively.
More recently, a considerable amount of work has been devoted to creating accurate tire models suitable for the study of brakeinduced vibrations and wheel-shimmy. MBS simulation can be used effectively in these contexts. The typical approach is to build
an MBS model of the system and exercise it through various events that reflect typical and extreme aircraft ground maneuvers.
Through such simulation, the system behavior can be understood and improved.
MBS approaches have also been used in the following areas.
Development of a linearized longitudinal model of the brake-wheel-landing gear system, suitable for the design of anti-skid
control systems
Development of methods to identify tire parameters from experimental data measured during braking tests
Development of methods to identify tire and landing gear parameters from experimental data measured during drop tests


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?


Helicopters are classified as rotorcraft or rotary-wing aircraft to distinguish them from fixed-wing aircraft. The helicopter achieves
lift with the rotor blades, which rotate around a mast. The lift from the rotor also allows the helicopter to hover more efficiently than
other forms of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, allowing it to accomplish tasks that fixed-wing aircraft cannot perform.
Today, helicopters are used for transportation, construction, fire-fighting, search and rescue, and military operations.
Some key challenges associated with helicopter designs are:
Designing the rotor system
Understanding the rotor dynamics
Designing the flight controls
Understanding performance for different flight conditions
Noise and vibration reduction
Component fatigue life
Defining engine requirements
Occupant safety
Specialized software tools have traditionally been used to analyze many of the above-mentioned scenarios. See (Wikipedia) for a
list of such tools. Helicopter rotor systems contain a challenging mix of large overall motion, nonlinear deformation in the blades,
3D contact between stator and rotor, and complex aerodynamic forces. More recently, unifying approaches such as MBS are being
investigated for such systems.

Space Systems

Many different disciplines are employed in the design of spacecraft. The primary role of MBS in spacecraft design is the analysis
of the overall motion of the spacecraft as it is executing various maneuvers. MBS is also used extensively in the design of various
structures and mechanisms such as robot arms, beams, panels, other deployable appendages, and separation devices.
Simulation is of fundamental importance for satellites, space stations and all other systems operating in space. There are several
reasons for this.
The operating environment for space systems - low or no gravity is almost impossible to reproduce on earth. Such
environments are extremely expensive to recreate on ground and are quite limited in what they can do.
All subsystems must be designed to operate flawlessly when deployed. Manufacturing costs are extremely high and failure
is often catastrophic.
Take-off and landing are extremely severe and dangerous events.
Spacecraft maneuver plans are needed to minimize energy consumption.
MBS solutions, coupled with control components and flexible bodies (representing the solar panels) can be of great help in the
investigation of satellite performance. Typical scenarios handled by MBS techniques include:
Launch system dynamics analysis
Guidance system design and validation with realistic models
Orbital and attitude dynamics evaluation
Solar panel deployment simulation
Simulating docking and capture sequences
Simulating interaction of controls and structures

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Simulating performance in zero gravity and micro-gravity environments

Radar/satellite analysis
Impact analysis of orbital debris/micro-meteorites
Satellites are not the only space systems that can be optimized with the help of MBS technology. An interesting example found
in literature (OHB systems AG) shows how MBS was used to understand the forces generated by an exercise device installed
for astronauts training on the International Space Station. An MBS model of the device consisting of many flexible components
was generated and it was coupled to a multi-body android model. The entire system was put into effect to generate the forces
developed by an exercising astronaut. Studies were then performed to see how it affected the vibrations of the space station.

Figure 53: MBS Model Of An Astronaut Training Device For International Space Station (Courtesy Of OHB Systems). The Goal Was To Study The Effect Of An
Exercising Astronaut On The Motion Of The Space Station.


Aero-elasticity is defined as the study of the interaction of aerodynamic, inertial, and structural forces and their combined influence
on system performance. It is important in the design of airplanes, helicopters, missiles, suspension bridges, power lines, tall
chimneys, and even stop signs.
Aero-elastic phenomena arise when structural deformations induce changes on aerodynamic forces. The changed aerodynamic
forces can cause a change in the structural deformations, which in turn change the aerodynamic loads. These recursive interactions
may become smaller until an equilibrium condition is reached, or may catastrophically diverge.
Aero-elasticity is normally investigated with the help of complex FE models. An alternative approach, applicable during initial
design, is to model an aircraft as a collection of rigid bodies. In this approach, the elastic structure is discretized as a set of rigid
bodies that are connected by rotational springs to account for wing bending and rotational stiffness. For the aerodynamics, strip
theory corrected for the influence of a finite wing is used. Flight mechanics are included via simple constraint elements that define
the motion of the aircraft with respect to the ground. Even with such a simple model, free flight simulations of the aircraft, including
trim and maneuvers can be performed. Investigations of changes in loads due to changes in structural elasticity can be analyzed.
These simpler descriptions allow engineers to focus on fast investigation of a large number of cases. Design configurations and
parameters can be quickly varied and overall system response to changes can be promptly investigated. For more information,
see (DLR).

4.4.3 Railway
Railway suppliers are challenged with optimizing the performance of their vehicles so they can deliver products that meet the
increasingly stringent requirements of increased speed, safety, passenger comfort, and low maintenance costs.
It is common to have long design cycles in rail vehicle manufacturing. The first physical system-level prototype often represents
the final product. This presents a very powerful motivation for using simulation early in the development cycle. A simulation
based approach permits manufacturers to meet safety and performance based regulations imposed by the government railway
organizations. It also allows them to meet the quality requirements of their customers. With physics-based simulation, recalls and

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

last-minute design changes are minimized.

Different railway market segments are characterized by different engineering requirements. For instance, when designing a highspeed train, the main requirements to be fulfilled pertain to speed control, comfort, and safety. For the design of slower urban or
suburban vehicles, the most critical aspects are related to the negotiation of very sharp curves. This leads to excessive wheel wear
due to the high values of the angle of attack between wheels and rails.
Railway-related MBS solutions have traditionally been handled by specialized simulation codes that are optimized to handle
the extremely stiff nature of the wheel-rail contact area. Recently, commercially available MBS solutions have been adapted to
effectively deal with such ill-conditioned numerical systems. Numerical methods are specially tuned to solve such problems.
Software libraries that model wheel-rail contact to different levels of fidelity and accuracy are now available. For more information
on wheel-rail contact mechanics, see the theory from Professor J.J. Kalker, who developed a variational method for finding the
contact area and pressure with arbitrary profiled bodies (Kalker).
Commercial MBS rail solutions available today allow users to build complete, parameterized models of railway vehicles. Users
can construct a system model by selecting from a library of suspensions, wheel sets, wheel-rail contact properties, and other vital
characteristics. The system is automatically assembled once the key subsystems are selected. Predefined libraries of standard
simulation events enable designers to assess vehicle properties such as stability, derailment safety clearance, track load,
passenger comfort, and noise. MBS solutions enable engineers to optimize the performance of railcars, even before running a
single physical test.
Typical MBS related railway industry applications include:
Dynamic safety and comfort simulations of a railcar running on a measured track. This requires a detailed wheel-rail
contact model.
Frequency domain analysis of bogies and/or vehicles to investigate the stability of the vehicle and eliminate resonance due
to track irregularities
Evaluation of the durability performance of an axle shaft
The influence of the flexibility of axles and other components on wheel-rail contact, wear, and vehicle dynamics
Optimization of air spring properties and its layout through detailed models
Simulation of contact between pantograph and catenary, design of pantograph springs in order to maintain contact with
catenary during operation
Simulation of the interaction between railway vehicles and the track bed

Figure 54: Rail Applications Of MBS Technology. MBS Is Used For The Detailed Design Of The Suspension And Undercarriage, For Test Rig Based Durability
Analyses, For Comfort Studies And For Analyzing Wheel-Rail Wear With Detail Contact Models.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

4.4.4 Motorcycle
Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating urban
traffic, cruising, sport and racing, and off-road conditions. In many parts of the world, motorcycles are among the least expensive
and most widespread forms of motorized transport.
Historically motorcycle engineers have relied on physical testing and experience to design and tune new motorcycles. Specialized
MBS solutions containing a simulation environment for motorcycle design and testing are now available. Such an environment
allows engineering teams to quickly build and simulate a complete parameterized motorcycle model and select fundamental
design options. Existing designs can be evaluated and production problems are identified early in the development with the use
of MBS tools.
Much of the technology required for the investigation of motorcycle handling is derived from methods developed for the automotive
industry. However, there are also significant differences. In particular, the tire model must accurately describe the extreme tilting
values that can be reached by a motorcycle during a cornering maneuver. The use of a virtual rider increases the precision of the
simulation for ride, handling, stability, and durability applications. In addition to testing the model on a virtual track, engineers rely
on different virtual rigs to test subsystems such as tires and suspensions, or the motorcycle frame on a two post rig.
Besides accurately predicting the motion of motorcycles, MBS solutions also evaluate component durability. Both, semi- and fullyanalytical approaches are supported.

Figure 55: A Two-Post Durability Test Rig For Motorcycles

Other typical MBS applications for motorcycle design include:

Evaluation of suspension performance
Simulation of stresses on the frame for various motorcycle driving conditions
Simulation of the handling performance of a motorcycle model
Motorcycle simulation on measured roads and evaluation of component forces
Optimization of engine mount locations and configurations in order to reduce the level of vibration transmitted to the frame
by the engine
Ducati (Ducati) has recently published an innovative application of MBS for motorcycle design. A detailed model of the motorcycle
frame, suspension, and tires was created. This system was mounted on a virtual test rig, driven by measurements on a test track.
Loads acting on the frame and suspension components were calculated. These were subsequently used to calculate the fatigue
life of the frame and identify the weak spots in the frame.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?


General Machinery

Manufacturers of general machinery now operate in a mature market, where global competition mandates low production costs
and product differentiation through innovation. As a result, leading companies in this industry are one of the early adopters of
computer-aided prototyping, applying technology to the design and development of a wide range of machinery equipment.
MBS is used as an integration platform in this industry. Its primary role is to perform system level simulation to improve system
performance and provide necessary information so other types of analyses can be subsequently performed.
General machinery can be broadly categorized into three groups: heavy machinery, manufacturing machinery, and packaging

Heavy Machinery

Heavy machinery equipment performs a variety of tasks: construction, transportation of building materials, small demolitions,
digging holes, breaking asphalt, paving roads, and powering building equipment. The range of products include tractors, wheel
loaders, tracked and wheeled excavators, backhoes, pay-loaders, bulldozers, graders, dump trucks, logging equipment, skidders,
skid steers, freight trucks, log loaders, setout trucks, tractor trailers, slashers, low boy trailers, drop deck trailers, flat bed trailers,
and many others.
Since heavy machinery equipment cannot be easily transferred from one place to another, it is used for multiple purposes at one
location. Safety of the operator and the external environment are key considerations.
The systems focus of MBS tools allows accurate modeling of complex heavy machinery; a hierarchical approach is usually
adopted. Systems are composed of interconnected subsystems; subsystems are composed of components. Both subsystems
and components can be defined in other technological domains. Since operating loads are quite large, it is common to model
structural components using finite element technology. System control is normally done through hydraulic actuation systems.
Therefore, many subsystems contain detailed hydraulic circuit descriptions. Tire behavior, tire-soil interaction, and driver behavior
are also integrated into the system level model. Such a model has predictive capabilities, and can be used to refine the behavior
of the system, and its key subsystems.
Ingersoll-Rand (Ingersoll Rand) demonstrates the full power of the approach described. They use MBS as an integration platform
for analyzing excavators.
Geometry from the CAD environment in the form of IGES files is used to define rigid bodies with accurate mass and inertia
A finite element model of the lower arm is created in the FE environment and imported into the MBS model as a flexible
Spring-dampers are used to model the hydraulic cylinders. The actuations of the hydraulic cylinders are sequenced to
represent different digging operations.
Bucket loads generated by bucket-earth contact are accurately modeled.
The simulation results from the analysis are validated with hand calculation and site tests. Even the stress field in the flexible body
was found to be in close agreement with test data. The simulation process enabled the engineering team to:
Evaluate joint reaction forces component stresses due to digging operations
Identify the worst load cases for the different components
Carry out suitable design modification
Reduce overall design cycle time and the cost of prototyping and testing


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 56: MBS Applications For Heavy Machinery Simulation

Manufacturing Machinery

This section illustrates the use of MBS tools in improving manufacturing machinery by describing how they are used for stamping
operations. Progressive stamping is a metalworking method that includes punching, coining, and bending. Stamping machines
usually include an automatic feeding system.
The feeding system pushes a strip of metal through all the stations of a progressive stamping die. Each station sequentially
performs one or more operations until a finished part is made.
The progressive stamping die is placed into a reciprocating stamping press. As the press moves up, the top die moves with it,
allowing the material to feed. When the press moves down, the die closes and performs the stamping operation. With each stroke
of the press, a part is completed.
Kinematic simulation has long been used in stamping engineering and manufacturing systems. More advanced analysis of new
high-speed transfer presses requires a higher fidelity dynamic analysis. Innovative methodologies have been developed (Altair
Engineering) to simulate the dynamics and kinematics of tri-axis transfer and crossbar presses, as well as other types of special
stamping press lines. These methodologies simulate the complete process, predicting motions and forces within the complex
sheet metal-forming transfer dies. Using a virtual set up of an entire production line, potential stamping operation failures can
be identified up-front and die-set production rate can be fine-tuned to avoid operational problems. Simulation provides several
Significant quality improvements in high cost activities such as die assembly and try-out, line try-out, and production rampup
Cost saving by dramatically reducing expensive trial-and-error approaches and ensuring a high return on investment for
sheet metal stamping plants
Efficiency improvements during the entire engineering process


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 57: MBS In Stamping Simulation. The Entire Stamping Process Including Press Stroke, Material Feed, Finished Product Removal, And Scrap Generation Is
Simulated. With MBS, The Stamping Process Can Be Analyzed And Improved. (Lower Figure Courtesy Of Ford Motor Company)

Ford Motor Company (Ford Motor Company), Figure 4.28, has successfully improved its sheet metal transfer processes with MBS
solutions. Their stamping process models feature flexible bodies and a virtual model of the stamping press line. The models have
been used to perform a panel transfer dynamic analysis. In-motion blank deflections are visualized. Accelerations and resultant
forces during motion are calculated. Interference during panel transfer operations is detected and avoided. Tooling design, such
as cup layout, is optimized. Finally, motion parameters to minimize impact while achieving optimum production speed have been
optimized. The system level focus of MBS allowed model complexity to be controlled and simulation results to be obtained in
reasonable times.

Packaging Machinery

Product packaging design and development are often thought of as an integral part of the new product development process.
Package design starts with the identification of all the requirements: structural design, marketing, shelf life, quality assurance,
logistics, legal, regulatory, graphic design, end-use, environmental, etc. The design criteria, time targets, resources, and cost
constraints need to be established and agreed upon a priori.
Today, the packaging machinery industry faces a unique set of challenges that stretches its engineering capabilities to the limits.
Consumer goods producers are striving to evolve containers into new shapes to appeal to continually changing customer needs
and tastes. Nearly every machine produced by a packaging machinery company is a one-of-a-kind creation designed to bring a
package designers creation to life, to increase production rates, or to lower costs. The goal, according to a leading packaging
machine designer, is to develop 80 to 90 percent of each new machine by using standard modules and components, and then use
streamlined engineering processes to develop the other 10 to 20 percent in minimal time.
Commercially available MBS simulation solutions give packaging design manufacturers the ability to validate several design
concepts before making prototypes so they can quickly select the best options to move into production. Companies involved in
the design and manufacture of consumer packaging are relying on simulation as a means to test the performance, feasibility, and
efficacy of new materials and shapes. This leads to better products that meet the environmental sustainability challenges of today.
Some typical applications of MBS in the packaging industry are:
Optimization of pallet shape to minimize occupied space in cargo containers
Reduce the amount of material used to build pallets. Optimize the layout of stacked boxes to prevent the boxes from
tumbling during transportation
Simulation and reduction of vibration of components packed in boxes during overseas ship transportation
Simulating vending machine operations to reliably deliver products


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

The Lion Corporation (Lion Corporation) has used MBS to predict reciprocal movement of bottles packed in a box during
transportation, optimize bottle shape to reduce their movement in the box, and allow them to be displayed in the store directly in
the box without rearranging them. Bottle shapes are imported from a CAD environment, and a 3D model of the box containing
24 bottles is assembled. Contacts are defined between the bottles themselves and between the bottles and the package. The
package is subjected to different types of excitations to determine the type of external disturbance that affects the alignments of
the bottles the most. The results of the MBS analysis are then used to optimize the shape of the bottles to minimize misalignments.
The entire design is done without creating physical prototypes.

Figure 58: Examples Of MBS Technology Applications For Packaging Simulation (Courtesy Of Lion Corporation)

4.4.6 Electromechanical
Intense consumer demand and fierce global competition drive cycle times in todays market. Consequently, product development
speed, innovation, and quality are crucial in this industry. Electronics goods manufacturers are challenged to design and develop
products that exceed customer expectations, enhance the brand, and survive the demanding lifecycle of consumer and business
use. MBS solutions are used mainly to minimize costly physical testing and improve product quality.
Some typical applications of MBS in the electromechanical industry are:
Optimization of paper feeding in a printer. MBS is used to determine paper trajectory and identify the optimum layout of
roller and guide.
Simulation of contact in the hinge mechanism of a mobile phone
Development of the contact model inside the zoom lens mechanism of a camera or the contacts in a complex switching
gear system
Simulation of mechanical processes in a personal computer such as the insertion and ejection process of an SD card in a
computer slot, and the opening and closing of a CD player tray
Investigation and reduction of washing machine vibration due to an unbalanced mass of the load


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 59: Examples Of MBS Technology Applications For Electromechanical Simulation: Cam And Follower Mechanism Of A Slider Phone, Paper Feeding
Mechanism Of A Printer, And Washing Machine

Examples showing the use of MBS for the design of a new mobile phone model are available. Motorola (Motorola Technology
Center) for example, has used MBS to study the kinematic behavior for a mobile phone and optimized spring rates, spring preloads,
and the cam profile. The design objectives were to minimize the opening time and torques, reduce stress on the cam, and improve
fatigue life of the various components in the system.

4.4.7 Biomechanics
Biomechanics is the use of mechanical principles to study living organisms, particularly to understand how they move and how
movement affects them. MBS methods have many applications in this domain. Some of these are listed below:
Ergonomics and human factors: The ability of human beings to perform routine tasks with the least amount of injury and
Orthopedics: Focused on joint and tissue mechanics, joint replacement, and prosthetics
Injury: Job/vehicle injury mechanism evaluation, expert witness
Clinical: Gait analysis and rehabilitation protocol development
Comfort: Analyzing human comfort in car seats, seating, beds, and wheelchairs
Understanding product use: Virtual evaluation of product use by humans
Sports biomechanics: Understanding performance in athletic events through modeling, simulation and measurement,
Exoskeleton analysis: The design and evaluation of exoskeletons for medical and military uses
Education: Biomechanics software as a teaching and research tool
Figure 60 depicts some of these applications.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 60: MBS Is Used Widely In Biomechanics. Applications Include Analysis Of The Spinal Column And Lumbar Analysis, Ergonomics For Comfort And Reach
Studies, Dummy Models For Safety, Sports Medicine For Maximizing Athlete Performance And Safety, Orthopedics And Knee Reconstruction, Biomechanics To
Understand And Improve Man-Machine Interfaces And Product Design To Ensure Human Comfort And Safety.

A few of these applications are examined next.

Ergonomics and human factors: The cost of back pain, caused primarily by inadequate attention to ergonomics, human factors,
and accidents is staggering. In 2005, the U.S. alone spent $85.9 billion looking for relief from back and neck pain through surgery,
doctors visits, X-rays, MRI scans, and medications; up from $52.1 billion in 1997. That money has not helped reduce the number
of sufferers; in 2005, 15 percent of U.S. adults reported back problems; up from 12 percent in 1997. The $85.9 billion price
tag excludes the cost of absence, reduced effectiveness at work, and the lower quality of life experienced by many individuals.
Innovative solutions are required to address this problem. Many researchers are now relying on MBS technology coupled with
ergonomic considerations, experimental measurement, and task synthesis to understand whether improved ergonomics and
improved task design can reduce back pain.
Orthopedics: This is the branch of medicine concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic doctors
use both surgical and non-surgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections,
tumors, and congenital conditions. Some common procedures performed by orthopedic surgeons include:
Knee arthroscopy and meniscectomy
Shoulder arthroscopy and decompression
Carpal tunnel release
Knee arthroscopy and chondroplasty
Removal of support implant
Knee arthroscopy and anterior-cruciate ligament reconstruction
Knee replacement
Repair of femoral neck fracture


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

MBS based tools to assist orthopedists in some of these situations are now becoming available. These tools provide libraries for
motion capture data, detailed joint models, contact conditions, realistic muscle models, and environments for virtual testing. They
allow the physician to perform in-vivo studies, understand the effects of their planned surgery and improve their procedure prior
to an operation.
Sports biomechanics: This field has two major aims: biomechanical analysis and optimization of sports techniques. The former
focuses on analysis of sports performance through experimental measurement and mathematical models of sports motions. The
later focuses on injuries in sport, calculating the loads on various bones during sports operations, and factors affecting sports
injury. MBS tools, focused on biomechanics, play an integral role in analyzing human motion and the forces generated on the
various joints, bone segments, and muscles during such motion.
Understanding product use: In the context of product use, task analysis helps to assess what users do with a product and how
they use it. This information is used to design a new system or analyze the performance of existing systems. Task analysis is
usually done before a product is designed, or when a product needs to be redesigned. It is an important aspect of human-machine
interface design. Simulators and mock-ups are used when the real system is unavailable or when one wishes to study systems prior
to the physical system being available. The simulation is typically used to finalize working methods, understand the ergonomics of
the human action, identify possible sources of product misuse and create learning processes and recommendations. MBS-based
tools in conjunction with high quality visualization tools are now being used for such purposes. It is important to note that these
types of simulations ultimately protect people. By relying on virtual testing, human trials are reduced to the absolute minimum.
Two specific examples in this domain, involving the use of MBS related tools, are discussed below.
MBS models of the lower foot are used for inverse and forward dynamic analysis of walking and jumping. Three-dimensional
motion capture systems record the position of each segment of the body in a human trial. The motion data from experiments is
imported into the model to train the joint servos. These are used to drive the model in a forward dynamic analysis. Internal force
(such as muscle force, joint torque) and the ground reaction force can then be predicted. These forces can be provided to detailed
finite element models for injury prediction.
MBS is used to estimate strains within the bone tissue (R. Al Nazera). These small strains, which play a major role in bone (re)
modeling, are traditionally assessed experimentally with strain gauge measurements. This is an invasive procedure, and limited
only to certain regions of superficial bones, such as the anterior surface of the tibia. In the study, a lower body musculoskeletal
model was first developed. Motion capture data obtained from walking at a constant velocity was used to teach the muscles
in the model to replicate the motion. The model was then exercised, and maximum and minimum tibial principal strains were
obtained. The model predictions correlated well with experimental measurement. The author concluded that the non-invasive
MBS approach may be used as a surrogate for experimental bone strain measurements and thus be of use in detailed strain
estimations of bones in different scenarios

4.4.8 Components
The MBS applications seen in the previous sections are mostly related to system- and subsystem-level simulations; in the case of
biomechanics the applications deal with the human motion and human activity associated with products.
With high fidelity models, MBS solutions can also be used to understand the behavior of mechanical components. These component
properties can be then used to describe the influence of the components in a more complex subsystem or system. Some typical
examples are listed below.
MBS models of bearings (ball and roller) to calculate rotational, axial, radial forces in the component due to the loads acting
on it
MBS models of detailed coil springs (including spire masses and coil-to-coil contact) to determine and tune stiffness and
damping properties of the component
MBS models for universal joints, including penetration check, output shaft velocity, and stress contours. These are used in
the design and validation of the component.
Planetary gear models (including 3D contact) between gears based on actual gear profiles
Cam model (including 3D contact) between cam and follower based on actual CAD profiles
Simulation of gyro mechanism

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Detailed models of shock absorbers, including the 3D contact model between outer and inner tubes and the dynamics of
the fluid

Figure 61: Examples Of MBS Technology Applications For Component Simulation: Roller Bearing, Planetary Gear, Cam/Follower Contact

4.4.9 Other
There are many other industries where MBS tools are used sporadically as an adjunct to other tools. Applications in other industries
are summarized below:

Simulation of anchor trajectory while hoisting and hull contact detection

Simulation of the behavior of a crane installed on a floating platform

Performance improvement of equipment installed on a ship (powered and watertight closures, cargo/weapon elevators,
embarkation equipments)


Simulation of robot mechanism coupled with control subsystems

Robot path analysis and collision detection

Robot component stress and compliance analysis


Roller coaster track and vehicle design (estimation of maximum speed and acceleration of vehicles, and of the acceleration
felt by passengers, estimation of forces exchanged between rail and wheel and forces at the joints, design of optimum

Tracked vehicles:

Simulation of the driving behavior of tanks

Detailed model and simulation of the track system

Control-structure interaction analysis for the weapons system


Optimization of resistance of ballpoint pen button and design of mechanism through adjustment of profile shape and
spring stiffness


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 62: Examples Of MBS Technology Applications For Other Industries: Analysis Of Floating Oil Platform With Crane, Missile Launcher, Anchor Lifting
Mechanism, Snowmobile, Pen Mechanism, And Tracked Military Vehicle Analysis


Emerging Trends

The previous chapter explained how MBS tools are used in different industry sectors today. This chapter focuses on areas where
this technology is evolving, primarily as a response to challenges faced during its deployment within various industries.
Seven key trends are noted.
Vertical products
Process automation
Open architecture
Data management
Enterprise computing
Multi-disciplinary simulation
Radical shifts in the compute environment


Vertical Products

A vertical market supplies goods to a specific industry; vertical market software is therefore, developed for niche applications or
for a specific clientele. For example, investment, real estate, and banking computer programs are all vertical market software
applications. They are only used by a specific group of people as opposed to general market software, which is developed for
multiple industries and many groups of users.
The need for vertical products is primarily driven by users in large organizations, who are interested in efficiently and repeatedly
solving specific problems and have little interest in general purpose tools. The automotive industry provides a realistic example for
a vertical product. All automotive manufacturers, especially OEMs for passenger cars, light and heavy trucks, and busses have a
continual need to design or update suspensions. For these users, a vertical solution focused on suspension analysis and design
is very useful. Such a solution might include:
A vehicle modeling library consisting of parametrically-defined subsystems for front suspensions, rear suspensions,
steering systems, brake systems, powertrains, frame, body, stabilizer bars, tires, and roads
An automotive-specific library of connectors such as shock absorbers, springs, bushings, jounce and rebound bumpers,

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

and engine mounts

A model building tool that allows users to graphically select and assemble systems
A battery of canned simulation scenarios for suspension test rig analyses, suspension hard-point synthesis, and suspension
durability evaluation
A set of application-specific output including plots, animations, video, and performance reports that allows users to easily
determine system performance
An authoring system that allows users to build their own parametric subsystems, events, and reports
Vertical MBS solutions are usually created by customizing the user interface, solver, and results processing modules of a generalpurpose solution. Generic capabilities such as modeling elements, simulation scenarios, and results calculations are particularized
to the needs of a specific industry.
Solution deployment, especially in a large organization, involves integration of tools and processes with the operations of the
organization and its key suppliers. Both process and tools require application-specific customization in order to be gainfully used.
In this respect, vertical MBS tools are enterprise solutions.
With vertical products and process deployment strategies, MBS solutions offer the potential to capture in-house knowledge in
the software, achieve consistently repeatable process execution, and foster innovation and quality. Many of the large automotive
OEMs such as GM (Adam Opel GmbH - GME Engineering) and Toyota use such solutions today.


Process Automation

A process is a description and ordering of tasks designed to yield specific results. It provides a conceptual framework within which
individuals, groups, and departments coordinate their activities to achieve common higher-level objectives.
Processes are very well-defined in mature organizations. For instance, in the automotive industry, processes for assessing and
improving vehicle durability, vehicle handling behavior, noise-vibration-harshness characteristics, and crash safety are extremely
well-defined. Processes such as these can be automated using CAE software. Processes tend to be multi-disciplinary in nature and
often require multiple software components to work together and act in a unified manner.
Software process automation is typically performed as follows:
The purpose of the process is first defined.
The workflow associated with a process is then defined in technical terms. This is usually accomplished by interviewing
people who are responsible for the operations in the organization.
The workflow is decomposed into a sequence of tasks. The inputs, outputs, and the transformation function of each task
are clearly identified. Tasks may be further decomposed into sub-tasks, so the entire system is hierarchical. This defines
the process template.
Software tools are associated with each of the tasks. They are modified as necessary to fit into this context.
Integration tools are created so that the outputs of prior tasks can be the inputs to a subsequent task.
The workflow is embedded in a workflow management tool so that process is automated.
A sample process for managing the durability analysis of car doors is shown below. This process requires four different technologies
to work together in order to provide useful output. These four technologies are: (a) MBS, (b) FEA, (c) Fatigue, and (d) Visualization.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 63: A Process Template For Durability Simulation Of Car Doors. Once A Validated Model Is Available, There Is Very Little Need To Do Physical Testing.

The purpose of the process in Figure 63: A process template for durability simulation of car doors. Once a validated model is
available, there is very little need to do physical testing to determine the life of the various components in a car door when it is
subjected to various slamming operations. The process consists of the following key steps:
Step 1: Define goals for the fatigue life of the components in a car door subsystem.
Step 2: Identify events that define the duty cycle for a car door. The events essentially describe how hard and how often the car
door is slammed.
Step 3: Define the requirements for MBS simulations that take an event and a model as input and generate component loads. This
implies defining how the event is to be applied to the MBS model, the types of analyses to be performed in the MBS domain, and
the outputs that are to be generated.
Step 4: Define the requirements for FE simulations that generate component stress/strain information when it is subjected to
loads at the component loading points. The data exchange protocol between MBS and FE simulations is defined. Techniques for
transferring load locations and orientations from the MBS model to the FE model are defined. This ensures that the FE simulation
uses the same model parameters as the MBS simulation.
Step 5: Define the requirements for fatigue simulation. The loads time history from the MBS simulation and the component stress
state from the FE simulation are combined with material models and provided as input to the fatigue program. The specific types
of fatigue analyses to be performed, the data exchange protocol with MBS and FE simulations, and the outputs to be generated
are described.
Step 6: Define the requirements for results analysis. Specific plots, graphics, and animations to be created from the MBS, FE, and
fatigue analyses are described.
Step 7: Select software tools to perform the above operations and create utilities that facilitate the exchange of data between the
different simulations.
Step 8: Embed the above process and tools in a workflow management system that can automatically execute the business logic.
Workflow management tools also provide the capability to monitor and publish process and task status, facilitate data and results
sharing, and provide archival services.
A high-level task in Figure 63, such as performing an MBS simulation, can be broken down into lower level sub-tasks as shown in
Figure 5.2.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Figure 64: Task decomposition into sub-tasks. A complex task, such as Perform MBS Analysis, may be decomposed into several
sub-tasks. Sub-tasks in turn can be decomposed even further if they have many steps within them.. Sub-tasks can also be divided
into more atomic operations. For instance, Sub-task 1: Set up system model, may be decomposed into many automated steps that
define precisely what actions are to be taken to set up a model for durability simulations.

Figure 64: Task Decomposition Into Sub-Tasks. A Complex Task, Such As Perform MBS Analysis, May Be Decomposed Into Several Sub-Tasks. Sub-Tasks In Turn
Can Be Decomposed Even Further If They Have Many Steps Within Them.

One can see that process definition, task identification, tool selection, utilities creation, and workflow management and automation
are complex. The process automation procedure must be incrementally developed and tested.
Two challenges associated with the creation of process automation templates are:
Organizations have their own process. Therefore, a general-purpose process-authoring capability should be available with
the process automation software. The use of the tool should be well documented so that users can modify pre-existing
templates to define or modify the process used by their organization.
Organizations have definite preferences and standards for tools they use to perform specific tasks. Process templates need
to have open-architecture so that organizations can use the tools they prefer in a process.
Engineering process automation is an exciting new development in CAE software solutions. There are several benefits to using
such an approach:
Through the use of such tools, engineering processes can be standardized.
Organizational know-how can be captured in the software.
Processes can be repeated consistently.
Through efficient data management, processes can be tracked and intermediate results can be stored.
Interdepartmental collaboration is facilitated.


Open Architecture

An open architecture is needed to customize and extend the software to meet an enterprises needs. An open architecture requires
three basic attributes:
A well-documented database that is extended by users and third-party solution providers to create and manipulate objects
they need. The data model should support inheritance and composition for the creation of new objects. The database
should be capable of handling geographically dispersed data and heterogeneous file systems.
A well documented API that allows users and third-party developers to create new applications from the core capabilities.
The API should span all four phases: Build-Test-Review-Improve.
Well-documented scripting capabilities are required. Customization and extension is typically implemented in a scripting


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

language. There is a definite trend in the CAE area to converge to languages like Tcl/Tk and Python/QT for scripting and
user interface development.


Data Management

MBS and CAE solutions have proven their value in optimizing products and improving quality. However, the amount of data produced
by finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, and motion simulation analyses is huge - sometimes measurable in
terabytes per analysis. Management of CAE data is essential for analyst efficiency and effectiveness in decision-making during the
development process. The key attributes of a good data management system are:
The ability to store associations between various instances of CAD models, their corresponding CAE models, intermediate
iterations, and the generated results. This includes maintaining relationships, lineage, and history for all data in a searchable
Easy access to inputs such as materials, loads, and constraints, which improves the consistency and repeatability of the
Build-Test-Review-Improve process.
A bill of analysis that lays out what the engineers need to assemble for a simulation; this needs to map other bills of
material related to design, manufacturing, sourcing, etc.
A consistent way to visualize and report CAE results.
The requirement for data management, integrated with CAE software, is being driven quite forcefully by large automotive and
aerospace businesses that rely on CAE to design and validate their product.


Enterprise Computing

Enterprise computing refers to the computing strategies used by large corporations and organizations. It includes the computer
hardware and infrastructure, computer connectivity and access, security, software applications, license management, web-portals
for job scheduling, submission and monitoring, and tools for monitoring infrastructure performance. The overall goal for enterprise
computing is to provide computation capabilities that are accessible from geographically dispersed locations and drive innovation
while still controlling overall costs.
This section focuses on a narrow subset of enterprise computing: CAE engineers needs and CAE software requirements in the
enterprise computing environment.
Manufacturing today relies on a network of globally distributed product development organizations and procedures. These
operations require a unified framework environment where engineers and designers can build, test, evaluate, and improve virtual
prototypes. The unified framework is required to support the following capabilities:
Many different analyses derived from a common data model: Engineers and designers are required to perform many
different kinds of analysis such as motion studies, strength and durability analyses, thermal evaluations, and noise and
vibration assessment. The framework should allow users to migrate seamlessly from one domain to the other. Disciplinespecific models should be algorithmically generated from a master product model as needed. It reduces the possibility of
engineers operating in silos of expertise. Duplication of modeling effort is minimized. Transfer of data between applications
via files, and the use file readers, writers, and translators is minimized or eliminated.
Common look and feel across applications: By reusing common tools across all applications, the software learning curve
is significantly reduced.
Discipline integration, knowledge capture, and process modeling: Discipline integration allows for the creation and
evaluation of models that span several distinct disciplines. Knowledge capture allows for corporate expertise to be codified
and embedded in the software. Process modeling allows for corporate processes to be modeled in the software. The
goal is that the use of the software automatically results in adherence to corporate practices for design, evaluation, and
Figure 65: A typical architecture for a CAE framework. Most architectures feature common model building and post-processing
tools. It is not uncommon to have many solvers; each specialized for a specific set of domains. Modern CAE architectures provide
built-in data management support, job-submission and monitoring tools, and a rich library of optimization tools. schematically


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

depicts how such a framework may be constructed.

Figure 65: A Typical Architecture For A CAE Framework. Most Architectures Feature Common Model Building And Post-Processing Tools. It Is Not Uncommon To
Have Many Solvers; Each Specialized For A Specific Set Of Domains. Modern CAE Architectures Provide Built-In Data Management Support, Job-Submission And
Monitoring Tools, And A Rich Library Of Optimization Tools.

A key aspect of the framework shown in Figure 65 is that there is a common modeling paradigm that is shared across all the
different domains (such as stress, motion, CFD, etc.). Furthermore, the framework enables a model to be built once and re-used
across the different domains that primarily apply different analysis events or load-cases on that model. Within the framework,
an embedded workload manager is able to distribute the computational effort on a cloud containing a heterogeneous network
of machines. The computational cloud is abstracted away from the users so they do not have to deal with the details of job
submission, monitoring, and retrieval on the computational platform.
A common set of post-processing tools is available to review the results of the simulation. This entire setup is wrapped inside an
optimization layer (shown as Improve in Figure 65) so that product performance may be improved using the techniques explained
earlier. CAE simulations generate large amounts of data that cannot be traced back to any Product Data Management model.
Therefore, the framework needs to provide a data management service to effectively manage CAE models and data and relate
these to the CAD models from which they were derived.


Multi-Disciplinary Simulation

Many real-world problems are multi-disciplinary in nature, and MBS alone cannot hope to solve them. Examples of problems that
span multiple disciplines include durability and life prediction, noise-vibration analysis, and mechatronic systems simulation. A
complete solution for such problems is usually sought through process management and software integration.
One example of multi-disciplinary simulation is in the optimization of flexible bodies under transient loading. A new solution
method, the Equivalent Static Load Method (Altair Engineering), has been developed for this specific purpose. This method is
based on the creation of a series of static loads that generate the same displacement field as the transient analysis. Once this
step has been taken, standard finite element based optimization procedures may be used for system level MBS models.
This process is efficient for large scale design problems. Design techniques such as topography optimization, topology optimization,
shape optimization, and free-size optimization are also made available to MBS models through this technique. This innovative
approach has proven its efficiency as a key solution for a technology benchmark recently promoted by NAFEMS (NAFEMS).
There are many other examples where multi-disciplinary simulation is absolutely necessary. Figure 30 illustrates this need in the
context of vehicle dynamics, where MBS, FEA, controls, hydraulics, and experimental techniques all must function together in
order to create a realistic simulation of a car driving down the road and performing a lane change maneuver.
Co-simulation is a popular approach to solving multi-disciplinary problems. It is a methodology in which several simulators
collaborate to provide a solution. Each simulator focuses on a specific aspect of the overall issue. Coupling between the different
aspects of the problem is achieved by exchanging information between the simulators. There are many approaches to doing
co-simulation. These differ primarily in the manner in which the problem is partitioned and the way in which the collaboration is
handled. These are summarized below.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Time-based Partitioning: In this approach, the simulators are run in sequence. The output of one simulator, in one domain, is used
as the initial or boundary conditions for a subsequent simulation in a different domain. The use of the Craig-Bampton modes for
modeling flex bodies in MBS is one such example. A component mode synthesis analysis is performed in the finite element world.
This modal representation of the structure is used to represent a flex-body in MBS. The use of forces calculated by a multi-body
simulation as boundary conditions in a subsequent stress analysis operation in a finite element solver is another example of this
type of co-simulation.
Co-simulation via time-based partitioning is typically handled by exchanging files. The information flow is typically unidirectional.

Figure 66: A Time-Based Partitioning Strategy For Co-Simulation. In This Approach, The Output From One Simulator Provides The Input For A Second Simulation.

Physics-based Partitioning: In this approach, the problem is partitioned according to the different physical laws that are being
considered in the problem. Each simulator focuses on one set of physical laws. Coupling between the two domains is handled
by frequent data exchange between the two simulators. The nature of the coupling is governed by the strength of the coupling
between the domains. If the output of one domain strongly influences the behavior of the second domain, an implicit coupling
approach is used. This is illustrated in .
Physics-based partitioning is a commonly used approach since simulators typically tend to specialize in solving the equations for
a specific domain. Thus, it is common for a controls package to model and solve the control system, the MBS code to model and
solve the plant, and the hydraulic system to model and solve the hydraulic system. Co-simulation dynamically couples all three
Figure 67 shows two simulators solving a problem together. The two simulators work in parallel, solving the equations for their
domain. At frequent time intervals, known as the sampling frequency, the simulators exchange information about the common
boundary. When the coupling is strong, the information exchange is iterative, and is modified so that boundary conditions between
the two domains are rigorously satisfied. When the coupling is weak, the information exchange is not iterative. Instead, the output
from one simulator is simply used as an input to the second.
A common scenario is that flow (kinematic) information from one domain is sent to the other, and the other domain sends back
effort (force) information. The data exchange typically represents energy transfer from one domain to the other.

Figure 67: A Physics-Based Partitioning Strategy For Co-Simulation. Both Simulators A And B Run Simultaneously. At Frequent Intervals, Information Is Exchanged
Between The Two Simulators. When The Coupling Is Strong The Boundary Conditions At The Interface Are Rigorously Satisfied. This Figure Shows One Strategy
For Data Exchange. Other Gluing Strategies Are Also Possible.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?


Radical Shifts In The Compute Environment

The next few years will usher in unparalleled changes in both the hardware and software environments in which MBS is performed.
Computer hardware will be faster, smaller, cheaper, and more powerful as computer chip manufacturers continue to follow or
exceed Moores Law (the number of transistors in a chip will double every two years). This inexorable growth may manifest itself in
a few different ways in computer hardware.
Laptops and personal computers (PCs) will support an increasing number of cores. PCs will grow from dual- and quad-core
chips available today to ones with tens or even hundreds of cores.
The Graphical Processing Unit (GPU), used primarily today for rendering graphics on PCs, will become computational engines
in their own right. GPUs will be enhanced to support standard programming languages. New programming paradigms will
enable software to execute across heterogeneous platforms consisting of CPUs, GPUs, and other processors.
Large scale computing will be enabled via cloud computing. Cloud computing is an Internet-based computing paradigm in
which resources such as hardware, software, and storage are provided to applications on-demand as a service (much like
electricity is for many people today).
Computing will become ubiquitous. It will be accessible from multiple sources and one need not explicitly log on to specific
machines to perform computation.
Software will be required to respond to these changes by exploiting these architectures via multi-tasking, multi-threading, and
large scale parallelization. New mathematical and solution techniques need to be developed to benefit from the new hardware
architectures and computing environment changes.
All of the above implies dramatically enhanced computational power at the users fingertips. Problems that were once intractable
will now be amenable to computer solution. Modeling approaches that were impractical for a few CPUs may become viable when
many more become available. True, physics-based virtual reality will be feasible for many problems. This will in turn enable better
understanding of product designs and facilitate correspondingly dramatic improvements in their performance.
The future of system level solutions such as MBS is very bright, indeed.

4.6 Conclusions
The current bottleneck in globally competitive product design is the creation, instrumentation, testing, and modification of systemlevel hardware prototypes. Traditional CAD/CAM/CAE methodologies do not provide a good means to break this barrier. New
products in the MBS area provide system-level counterparts to component-focused CAD/CAM/CAE solutions and allow for dramatic
breakthroughs in speed, cost, and quality for new product design.
All commercial vendors follow a standard pattern in the design of MBS software. They support a Build-Test-Review-Improve
paradigm. Software offerings differ primarily in the modeling set that is supported, and the choices made in implementing the
core solver.
As demonstrated by the various examples provided in this book, MBS can be considered a standard simulation solution in support
of the engineering process in the majority of industries. Its purpose is to introduce innovation in the design, while shortening
development cycles and cutting costs. MBS has been used successfully in the automotive, aerospace, aircraft, defense, electromechanical, general appliance, manufacturing, biomechanics, train, construction, ergonomics, and mechatronic industries
MBS vendors are adopting key strategies to facilitate the solution of multi-disciplinary problems. They are also providing unified
CAE frameworks that support many different CAE solutions. Data management is a key focus for many vendors, and facilitates
large-scale usage of the software. Knowledge templates are used to create application-specific products and integrate simulation
with process.
The dramatic changes in high-performance computing promise to usher in an era of new, easy-to-use and significantly more
powerful MBS solution tools.


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

4.7 References
Adam Opel GmbH - GME Engineering. Golden source templates for vehicle dynamics simulations with HyperWorks MotionView.
EHTC. Strasbourg, 2008.
Alfa Romeo. Putting simulation muscle behind a sporty concept car. 2003. Altair HyperWorks. 26 October 2008 <http://www.>.
Altair Engineering. Altair HyperView Capabilities. 2011. 25 September 2011 <
Altair MBD Solutions The Current Status and Future Directions 2008. Altair HyperWorks. 25 September 2011 <http://www.>.
Altair MotionSolve 9.0 New Feature Highlights. 2008. 25 September 2011 <>.
Design of Flexible Bodies in Multibody Dynamic Systems using Equivalent Static Load Method. American Institute of
Aeronautics and Astronautics (2007).
HyperDieDynamics Datasheet. 2006. 25 September 2011 <,2,46,Transfer%20
MotionSolve User Manual. 2008. 25 September 2011 <
MotionSolve-Simulink Co-simulation. 2008. Altair HyperWorks. 25 September 2011 <http://www.altairhyperworks.
Multi-Disciplinary Design of an Aircraft Landing Gear using Concept Design and Optimization Techniques. 2008. Altair
HyperWorks. 25 September 2011 <>.
Robustness Analysis of a Sheet Metal Scrap Shedding Process through a Stochastic Multibody Model. 2008. Altair
HyperWorks. 25 September 2011 <>.
ARRK Technical Services. The Use of MBD Modelling Techniques in the Design and Development of a Suspension System. EHTC
2008. Strasbourg, France, 2008.
AVL Graz. Simulation Aided Process for Developing Powertrains. SAE Convention. Sao Paulo (Brasil), 2000.
Blundell, Mike and Damian Harty. The Multibody Systems Approach to Vehicle Dynamics. SAE International, 2004.
BMW. Linearized Multi Body Templates for Steady State Finite Element Analysis. 2005. NeXT Engineering. 26 October 2008
CAE Value. Door Closing/Opening Efforts and Energies. EHTC2008. Strasbourg, 2008.
Chrysler. Integration & Automation of MBS & FEA for Durability Simulation and Postprocessing. HTC2006. 2006. n.d. 25 September 2011 <>.
ContiTeves. Simulation of a con rod with Altair MotionSolve. 1st EHTC Conference. 2007.
cosin scientific software. FTire Product Brief. n.d. 25 September 2011 <>.
Craig, Roy R. and Chang Ching-Jone. On the use of attachment modes in substructure coupling for dynamic analyses. AIAA/ASME
18th Structures, structural dynamics and material conference. San Diego, CA, 1977.
Craig, Roy R. and Mervyn C. C. Bampton. Coupling of Substructures for Dynamic Analyses. AIAA Journal 1968.
Dittmann, K.j., DaimlerChrysler Albright F.J., Leser C., MTS. Validation Of Virtual Prototypes Via A Virtual Test Laboratory. 2002.
26 October 2008 <>.
DLR. A Multibody Approach for Modelling of the Manoeuvring Aeroelastic Aircraft During Pre-Design. ICAS - 25th International


Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

Congress of the Aeronautical Sciences. Hamburg, Germany, 2006.

DLR Germany - Institute of Aeroelasticity. Multi-Disciplinary Simulation of Vehicle System Dynamics. 2003. 16.
Ducati. Development of a Multibody Model of a Vehicle on a Fatigue Test Bench. EHTC 2008. Strasbourg, 2008. n.d. 25 September 2011 <>.
ES.TEC.O. Srl; University of Trieste; Audi Motorsport AG. Integrating multibody simulation and CFD: toward complex multidisciplinary
design optimization. JSME international journal. Series B, fluids and thermal engineering - ISSN 1340-8054 (2006).
Esslingen University. Next Generation Tire Interfacing. EHTC 2008. Strasbourg, 2008.
Fiat Auto SpA; Altair Eng. Beyond geometrical DMU: assessing dynamic bodies interaction in mechanisms and operating systems.
ATA. Florence, 2003.
Fluidon GmbH. Fluid Power Specific Simulation Modules. 2nd European HyperWorks Technology Conference. Strasbourg, France,
Ford Motor Company. Sheet metal transfer simulation using flexible bodies. Numisheet. Interlaken, Switzerland, 2008.
Ingersoll Rand. Multibody Dynamics Analysis of an Excavator. Altair UC 2007. India, 2007.
Kaboldy. Wikimedia Commons, File:Gorgos1.png. 28 January 2009. 29 November 2009 <
Kalker, J.J. Three dimensional elastic bodies in rolling contact. Solid Mechanics and Its Applications, Vol. 2 . Springer, 1990. 344.
Kane, T. R. and D. A. (1980) Levinson. Formulation of Equations of Motion for Complex Spacecraft. Journal of Guidance, Control,
and Dynamics, Vol. 3 (1980): 99-112.
Kane, T.R. and D.A. Levinson. Dynamics, Theory and Application. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1985.
Kane, T.R., P.W. Likins and D.A. Levinson. Spacecraft Dynamics. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1983.
Keilriemen. Wikimedia Commons, File:Keilriemen-V-Belt.png. 2 November 2005. 29 November 2009 <http://commons.wikimedia.
Lion Corporation. Prediction of bottle movement in box in package transportation by CAE technology. ISTA Packaging Symposium.
Shangai, China, 2007.
M.C., Levesley, et al. Multi-body co-simulation of semi-active suspension systems. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers, Part K: Journal of Multi-body Dynamics (2007): 99-115.
congress. 2005.
McLaren Technology Centre. Simulating the Suspension Response of a High Performance Sports Car. 2007. Altair HyperWorks.
26 October 2008 <>.
Motorola Technology Center. Slider Phone Kinematics Analysis. 2006. Altair HyperWorks. 26 October 2008 <http://www.>.
NAFEMS. Realistic Simulation of a Flexible Mechanism - Several Approaches By Simulation Software Suppliers. NAFEMS World
Congress. Vancouver, Canada, 2007.
nCode International. Combining Durability with Multibody Analysis. 2000. MSC Software. 25 September 2011 <http://www.>. n.d. 26 October 2008 <>.
Nissan Motor Co Ltd. Collaborative activity among Design, Experiment & CAE in the field of vehicle dynamics. 2002. MSC
Software. 26 October 2008 <

Why Do Multi-Body System Simulation?

OHB systems AG. Structural Verification of Fly Wheel Exercise Device. EHTC. Berlin, Germany, 2007.
Orlandea, N., D.A. Calahan and M.A. Chace. A Sparsity-oriented Approach to the Dynamic Analysis and Design of Mechanical
Systems. Part I & II. ASME Journal of Engineering for Industry, 99(3) (1977): 773-779;780-784.
R. Al Nazera, T. Rantalainena, A. Heinonenc, H. Sievanend, A. Mikkolaa, Finland. Flexible multibody simulation approach in the
analysis of tibial strain during walking. Journal of Biomechanics (2007).
Rampalli, Rajiv. Multibody Systems: A commercial software perspective. Journe Scientifique - Rseau de comptence MaCHoP
HES-SO (2006).
Sheth, P.N. and J.J., Jr. Uicker. IMP (Ingegrated Mechanisms Program), A Computer Aided Design Analysis System for Mechanisms
and Linkage. Journal of Engineering for Industry, Transactions of the ASME, Vol. 94, Series B, No.2 (1972): 454-464.
Sheth, P.N. Ph.D. Dissertation: A Digital Computer Based Simulation Procedure for Multiple Degrees of Freedom Mechanical
Systems with Geometric Constraints. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin, 1972.
SolidWorks Corporation. Streamlining the Design of Packaging Machinery. 2006. SolidWorks. 26 October 2008 <http://www.>.
Subros. CAE based Simulation of Airflow Control Mechanism of an Automotive HVAC Module using MBD. Altair India HTC Users
Conference Proceedings. 2007.
Taylor, Dave. PLM, multidisciplinary simulation enable automotive mechatronics integration. 2008. 26 October 2008 <http://
Technology Review. Technology Review. MIT Press, 2003.
Timoshenko, Stephen. Schwingungsprobleme der technik. 1932.
Toyota Auto Body. Door slam application with MotionView. EHTC2008. Strasbourg, 2008.
TR Engineering. Process Automation of Suspension Simulation with HyperWorks MotionView. EHTC 2008. Strasbourg, 2008.
University of Waterloo, Canada. 2009. 29 November 2009 <>.
Vesimaki, Mauri and Sami Saarinen. ADAMS Basic Training. Espoo, Finland, 1993.
VIF - Virtual Vehicle Competence Center. Robust Driver Model for Vehicle Dynamics Simulations. EHTC 2008. Strasbourg, 2008.
Wikimedia Commons. File:Direction cre.jpg. 17 November 2009. 29 November 2009 <
Roller chains. 11 October 2008. 29 November 2009 <>.
Wikipedia. Rotordynamics. 7 November 2009. 29 November 2009 <>.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

5 MotionView / MotionSolve
A Multi-Body system study generally involves the following broad steps:
Constructing Models
Executing Solvers

These steps will be discussed in some detail in this chapter with respect to the HyperWorks CAE suite as shown in the image below.
Particularly, MotionView (model building), MotionSolve (analysis), HyperGraph and HyperView (post-processing) will be employed.
By using HyperStudy, system optimization may also be performed.
Altair MotionView
The Premier Modeling
Environment for

Innovative Mechanical
System Designs
Altair MotionSolve


An Integrated solution
to analyze and
optimize multi-body
system performance.


Altair HyperStudy
Design Exploration,
Study and

Altair HyperView
and Visualization
Environment for CAE
and Test Data

Altair HyperGraph
Powerful data analysis
and plotting tool for all
types of CAE data.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


A General Overview On MBD (collection of videos)

In this chapter of the book we have compiled a set of video which aim at providing a first introduction into MBD. Simply click on
the image to start the video (or copy the path to your webbrowser).
Gitesh Porwal describes some MBD applications, i.e. what is MBD about in this short video (duration: 4 minutes)

... which HyperWorks applications are employed during a MBD analysis (by Gitesh Porwal): (duration: 1:30 minutes)

In this video, Prakash Pagadala provides a general overview on MultiBody simulation with MotionView and MotionSolve (duration: 45 minutes)


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Some general MBD aspects are explained in this video (Gitesh Porwal; duration 16 minutes)

In this video the graphical user interface (GUI) of MotionView is briefly explained (Gitesh Porwal, duration 5 minutes) (duration 5 minutes)

How to access tutorials from the Help Documentation (by Gitesh Porwal) (duration 2 minutes)


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

High level discussion on points, bodies, joints by Gitesh Porwal (duration 10 minutes)

How to define MBD entities such as Points, Bodies, Graphics, Joints, Forces, Sensors, Output Requests, etc. in MotionView. The
video was recorded by Gitesh Porwal (duration 31 minutes)

Some additional information about CAD Import in MotionView (by Gitesh Porwal, 5 minutes)


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Constructing Models - Model Building

Before we dive into details, lets have a highlevel look at the various modeling steps and entities used in a (simple) MBD model:

Definition of model units and gravity

1. Points

2. Bodies

3.Assigned graphics

6. Motion

7. Output requests

4. Joints 5. Markers

A complete list of the entities and their properties is contained in the online documentation. The table below summarizes some
of the more commonly used entities.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

MBD models can be created using one or more of the following techniques:
1. Construct a model through the MotionView user interface. Entities can be added and deleted and their values set within the
MotionView interface.
Note: In this book we will primarily focus on the interactive approach to:
Create a model of a free body using MotionView
Perform an analysis on the model using MotionSolve
Post-process the MotionSolve results in HyperView & HyperGraph (the plot client)
Hence, option 2 and 3 listed below are just mentioned for your information.
2. Edit the MDL files directly. After you construct an MDL model, you can load it into MotionView at a later time for
simulation use.
3. Assemble a model from the MDL library. A vehicle suspension and dynamics library is installed with MotionView by
default which contains simple MDL modules. The library can be expanded or recreated for other mechanism types.

Lets get introduced to the MotionView Graphical User Interface next.


The MotionView Graphical User Interface

HyperWorks Desktop Workspace With MotionView As The Selected Client


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

The Client Selector drop-down menu, as shown, will select which HyperWorks Desktop (HWD) client is active in a window. Here of
course we select MotionView

Once the Client MotionView is active some specific toolbars (selection of icons) will be displayed.


MotionView Specific Toolbars

MotionView has a set of specific toolbars for building a MBD model. Each MotionView toolbar group provides access to entities
with similar characteristics. For example, all joints and motions are grouped in the Constraint toolbar. The table below shows
MotionView toolbars with a brief explanation of their usage.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


MotionView / MotionSolve Input And Output File Formats

The diagram below shows the basic process for building, solving, and post-processing MBD models using the HyperWorks
software suite.

MotionSolve XML, is based on the
XML standard. All model information
is contained within the MotionSolve
XML input file with one exception: the
flexbody information is contained in an
H3D file. The self-contained nature of
MotionSolve XML is intended to ease the
model sharing and free you from having
to collect all the files referenced in your
models. The input file contains both the
model and the simulation commands.
LOG file: This file contains messages
from the solver, such as solution
progress, errors and warnings, and CPU
MRF file: This file contains the solver
results. It can be used for creating 2-D
and 3-D plots using HyperGraph and
HyperGraph 3D. Body displacement
results are with respect to the body
coordinate system (BCS). However, its
main purpose is to facilitate the creation
of the three files described below. Note
that it can also be used for HyperView
animation when coupled with .maf (MDL
Animation File) as Model file (generated
by MotionView). The LOG and the MRF
files are always created.

Graphic h3d
a. Can be created either by using the CAD Import utility or
by using HyperMesh

These files are optional.

ABF file: This file is intended for creating 2-D and 3-D plots
using HyperGraph and HyperGraph 3D.
PLT file: This file contains your plot data in ASCII format. It is
used for transferring loads to NASTRAN and OptiStruct using the
Load Export utility in MotionView.
Flexbody h3d
a. Is a modal representation of a Finite Element model

b. Contains no result information

b. Required when modeling flexible bodies

c. Generally used to represent parts with realistic geometry

c. Can be generated either by using MotionView > FlexPrep

utility or by using HyperMesh > OptiStruct interface

d. Required when modeling rigid-to-rigid geometry contact

e. Input file for Graphics of File type in MotionView
f. Can also be visualized (but not animated) in HyperView

d. Modes and displacement / stress / strain contours can be

post-processed using HyperView (more information in Chapter
Introduction to Flexbodies)

Result h3d
a. Result file from MotionSolve, can be post-processed using HyperView


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

A summary about the most important MotionView / MotionSolve files is given by Gitesh Porwal in the video below (duration 3:30

MotionViews native modeling language is called MDL (Model Definition Language).

MDL has several unique characteristics; such as the ability to set any data as an algebraic parametric expression of any one
(or more) other model data. In addition, models or assemblies in MDL can have unlimited hierarchy, and can pass topology (or
data) from the parent systems to the child systems for use locally. MDL follows an object oriented approach so that definitions
can be reused as many times as needed in order to construct a model.
MotionView MDL models can exported to a variety of solvers including: Altair MotionSolve, MSC ADAMS, Dassault ABAQUS,
as well as others.
Models can be saved and loaded as MDL (Model Definition Language) files. MDL files are saved in the ASCII format, which
can be opened and edited in a text editor. The MDL files contain information regarding the entities describing the mechanical
MDL models can be saved as solver input decks for multi-body solvers such as MotionSolve and ADAMS. These model files
(*.mdl) can then be opened and saved in MotionView using the File menu, or the Open Model or Save Model buttons on the
Standard toolbar.
Lets have a look at the MDL syntax in the following video (by Gitesh Porwal; duration 8 minutes)


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

More information about the MDL file ...

An MDL file, which usually carries the suffix mdl
is an ASCII file that can be opened using any text
editor. These files can be created without using
MotionView at all. This approach requires that you
be familiar with the syntax of the MDL statements.
For instance, a revolute joint is defined using the
statement *RevJoint() where the items in brackets
should be replaced with the relevant values, as
shown in the annotated file displayed alongside.
In the MDL syntax, the name is used by other MDL
statements, while the label is used in the interactiveeditor. For example, in the annotated MDL file, the
name of the point defined on line 3 (p_pendu_cm)
is used in the link definition on line 4. In MotionView,
you would see it referred to by its label (that is, as
Pendulum CM).
You will see that there are two types of statements
for each entity. The first names it, the second
assigns data to it. The definition statement must
always precede the assignation statement, of
course. It is customary, but not essential, to group
all definition statements followed by all assignment
statements. It is also customary, but not essential,
that names follow a pattern. This makes it easier to
read an MDL file, as you will have to from time to
time. In the annotated example, the first letter of the
variable name indicates its type p for points, b for
bodies, and so on.
Note that the ball of the pendulum is not modeled
as a link at all from a kinematic point of view. To
make the graphic display realistic, however, graphic primitives are assigned to the link. In general, graphics can be assigned either
from predefined primitives (such as the cylinder and sphere used in the example) or by importing graphics from files. The latter is
common for complex geometry.
Since MotionView is an interactive graphics editor, and since model construction may well take more than one session, it is often
useful to save the definition of the desktop the windows, their contents, the last view of the model, and so on. These items are
relevant only to the interactive graphics environment. They are of no use to the construction of hierarchical systems (systems that
are built using other systems). So MotionView uses a different structure, the Session File format, to save this data. Session files
usually have the suffix mvw, and contain the complete MDL definition of the model in addition to the state of the desktop. The MDL
statements can be saved either in the MVW file or as a separate MDL file that is referenced by the MVW file.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Opening Model Files

To locate and open an MBD model file in MotionView:
From the File menu select Open > Model

or click the Open Model button file on the Standard toolbar.

Saving Model Files

From the File menu select Save > Model

or click the Save Model button file on the Standard toolbar.

Note: Periodically save your model, either as a MotionView session as an .mvw file or a MotionView model (.mdl). MotionView
also creates automatic backups of your session into a file named autosave.mvw, located in your current working directory.
The time interval between automatic backups can be specified via the *SetAutosaveInterval() preference statement. See
HyperWorks Desktop > Startup Procedures and Customization > Customization >Preference Files for more information.
Importing And Exporting A Solver Deck
This feature is used to read in an MBD solver deck file (xml format) Only the ADAMS Solver
Deck is currently supported
From the File menu select Import > Solver Deck
or click the Import Solver Deck button on the Standard toolbar

Note: A MotionSolve solver deck is typically exported from within the Run



MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Get Started

Launch MotionView (from Start Menu) and review the baseline model in the Project Browser. The baseline model contains

some items which are created automatically, like the forms for Gravity and Units, the Global reference frame, the Ground Body,
and the Global X, Y, and Z vectors, all of which are references which help to build models. [kg mm N s] is the default units set.


Gravity, Units

When a new model is created in MotionView, by default the settings for gravity and units are created for you.
Note: Gravity is set to the negative Z-direction by default.
These can be accessed either via the Model > Misc > Forms or Model > Data Sets folders in the Project Browser:

You only need to choose the settings in one place, and it will be automatically
updated in the other section. Both metric and English units are available:


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

5.4.3 Points
Points are one of the fundamental construction elements for multi-body models built in MotionView. Almost all the entities
that can be created in MotionView need to use points either for defining their location or orientation. Therefore, the creation of
points is an important task in model building within MotionView.
Points are design-time entities for MotionView, as opposed to run-time entities for MotionSolve in other words, you will not find
points in a MotionSolve model (i.e., input deck), since their only purpose is to help create other entities for MotionSolve (e.g.,
bodies, joints, forces, etc.)
Note: Points exist only in MotionView, not in MotionSolve files. Points are only used to specify locations for other entities that
define MotionSolve models (e.g., markers)
In MotionView you can create three types of points:
1. Single Point
2. Asymmetric Pair Point
3. Symmetric Pair Point
Point Pairs
By default, point pairs are symmetric, and the left side is the master. For symmetric pairs, only the master side can be edited
and changes are automatically made to the corresponding side. Click on the Left and Right tabs to switch between the left and
right coordinate.
The Symmetric properties check box on the Properties tab allows you to turn symmetry on or off. When symmetry is turned off,
both sides can be edited separately. When you turn on symmetry, you are prompted to select a master side.
Point Creation Methods
You can create points in the same ways that you created bodies in
the previous chapter, i.e., by right-clicking in the Project Browser or
right-clicking in the MotionView Toolbar.
In this chapter, lets focus a bit more on the details of the creation
process and options. Right click to launch the Add Point or PointPair

The Point Panel Icon On The MotionView Toolbar And The Add Point Or PointPair
Dialogue Box


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

1. The System button on the top identifies the System or Container into which the point will be created. The label Model means
that the point entity will be created in the Main Model. Using this button you can change the system into the point entity will be
- To change the system to which the point(s) belong, click the System button and select the desired system from the Model
By default the Points in MotionView are created in a model level Cartesian coordinate system called the Global Reference
Frame. And this is the only coordinate system that is available in MotionView.

2. / 3. Specify the Label and Variable name for the Point.

- The label is shown in the MotionView Model Browser and Graphic window.
- The variable is used by the modeling database and for user expressions. Once created, it cannot be changed. It cannot
contain spaces.
Note: By default variables names of entity in MotionView follow a certain convention. For example all Point entities have a
variable name starting with p_. This is the recommended convention to follow when building models in MotionView since it
makes it easier to identify entities in the model and for building expressions
It may be helpful to use the same name for Label and Variable, e.g. p_pointA
4. Select Point Type (Single or Pair). This selection decides whether the point is going to be a Single Point or a Pair Point.
Note: A point entity (Like most of the entities that are created in MotionView) can be a Single Entity or a Pair Entity. The pair
entities help in creating models which are symmetric about the Z-X Plane of the model (only). Their properties can also be
symmetric about the Z-X Plane (i.e. the Y property is mirrored). Asymmetry or symmetry of the points can be decided or specified
when editing the created point.
5. Clicking OK will Add/Create the point entity you described and close the Add.
After that you may start Editing Points using the Points Panel

Either type in its coordinates, or extract the values from the node of a graphic defined using an H3D file that exists in the model
and is visible in the graphics area.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

The Measure tab on the Points panel is used to measure the distance between any two points in the model.
Click on the Measure tab, pick the two points for which the distance is to be calculated and the panel will show the distance
between the two points in the highlighted area on the panel.
Besides using the Toolbar, points can also be created in the following ways in MotionView.
Using the Model Browser (right-click)
Using MDL statements in an MDL file (via text editor)
Using macros (TCL scripts)
Helpful: The Macros drop-down menu within MotionView contains an option called Create Points Between Points,
which will parameterize a point between the points we select in order to create a point for the CM of this body.

Select the option Create points equally spaced ... and reference the two points of interest (P0 / P1), number of points
to be created 1, then click on Create Points.
In the Project Browser select the new Point (P2) which will open up the Point Property panel. Note that the point
coordinates are highlighted in Blue - this simply tells you that the new Point P2 is an expression of P0 and P1. Clicking
on any of the shown coordinates shows the object-oriented model hierarchy (i.e. how this Point was/is determined)


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Rigid Body

A body is the same as a link. Graphics can be associated with a body if required, but its not essential. The mass properties of the
body are essential. These properties consist of the mass and the 6 mass moments of inertia and the coordinates of the center of
gravity of the body. Further, for a dynamic analysis, the initial velocity of the body must be specified. The initial position is defined
by the joints, while the accelerations are computed as a part of the solution.
In some cases, the body may have no appreciable moment of inertia. This occurs when the mass is so closely concentrated at
the center of gravity compared to the overall dimensions involved in the model. In conventional analyses, bodies are considered
to be rigid, but may also be flexible.
Right click on the Body icon

to open the Add Body or Body Pair dialog

For instance, enter Free Body or b_free_body (of course this up to your convention) into the Label field. This is the name that
will appear in the Project Browser.
Enter b_free_body into the Variable field. The variable is a unique name that the internal database uses (cant be changed later
Note: Underscores are used for the Variable field, since spaces are not allowed here. Also note that it is possible to have one or
more entities with the same label, but not the same variable name
A body that has 6 DOFs, 3 translational, 3 rotational is created and added to the Project Browser.

The Body panel now allows you to enter information about the body.

For mass and Inertia we enter (in this case) the dummy values 1 (for mass) and 1111 (inertia); see also the Chapter about
modeling tips for some recommendations


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Define the Center of Mass (CM coordinate) --> just activate the check box next to Use center of mass ...

Define its origin (you need to click on Origin), then for instance select from the shown pop-up window (entitled Select a Point)
the Global Origin (you can review/edit it any time by clicking on free body in the Project Browser).
Body Initial Conditions
In the Body panel, the Initial Conditions tab allows you to define the initial conditions of a body. Click on the check boxes to
turn initial conditions on or off. The initial conditions of body pairs are made symmetric by activating the Symmetric properties



Vx, Vy, Vz

set the initial conditions for translational velocity.

Wx, Wy, Wz set the initial conditions for rotational velocity.


the marker used to specify the direction of the translational velocity initial conditions.


the marker used to specify the direction of the rotational velocity initial conditions.

5.4.5 Geometry
MotionView graphics can be broadly categorized into three types: implicit, primitive, and external graphics.
Graphics are only required for:
Graphics-based contact modeling (solid-to-solid, point-to-deformable surface)
Interference analysis (e.g., does the trunk lid graphic touch/interfere with the body anywhere?)
Flexible-body creation
Graphics are useful, but not required for:
Mass properties (external only; see supported types in File --> Import --> Geometry)


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Implicit Graphics - The small icons that you see in the MotionView interface when you create entities like points, bodies, joints,
etc. are called implicit graphics. These are provided only for guidance during the model building process and are not visible
when animating simulations. Implicit graphics are always created. Options for controlling their attributes can be found under
Model --> Implicit Graphics.

External Graphics
One can import in various CAD formats or HyperMesh files into MotionView. The Import CAD or FE.
utility in MotionView can be used to convert a CAD model or a HyperMesh model to h3d graphic format which can be imported
into MotionView.
MotionView CAD interface relies on the HyperMesh CAD import engine. MotionView has a conversion utility that allows you to
generate detailed graphics for an MDL model using HyperMesh, Catia, IGES, STL, VDAFS, ProE, or Unigraphics source files.
MotionView uses HyperMesh to perform the conversion.
The surfaces of the components are meshed and exported to a specified graphic H3D file for visualization in MotionView.
Each component collector is brought into MotionView as a body, and the mass and inertia properties are determined on
a unit density basis (provided HyperMesh is able to create solid entity successfully).
You then have the option to specify density for each body based on which the actual mass and inertia are assigned to
the bodies.
The import tool also has a feature to launch HyperMesh, work interactively to mesh the surfaces as chosen, and select
nodes that can be imported as points.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Import CAD Or FE Dialog Box

Select File > Import > Geometry to display the Import CAD or FE dialog:

Note: The option Allow HyperMesh to specify mesh options is the default setting and typically used to solve non-contact
problems. The Meshing Options for Surface Data > Interactive Mesh allows you interactively mesh the surfaces manually. This
is particular useful when a finer mesh may be needed, such as in case of contact problems, to obtain better results.
The option Launch HyperMesh to create MDL points allows to select nodes in HyperMesh which can be imported into
MotionView as MDL points.
The Locator Points option can be used in cases where the CAD model being imported is not in the same coordinate system as
the MBD model in MotionView. You need to specifiy either three nodes or three coordinates on the source graphic which then
can be used to orient uing three points in MotionView.
If Import CAD or Finite Element Model With Mass and Inertias is selected, another dialog will appear that list the bodies with
volume and mass information (once the process in HyperMesh is completed). This dialog also has choice to specify input file
units so that the correct mass and inertia can be calculated.

Clicking Ok completes the process by creating the bodies, CG points, and graphics.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Primitive Graphics
- These graphics help in better visualization of the model and are also visible in the animation. The
various types of Primitive Graphics in MotionView are Cylinder, Box, Sphere, etc.

Example Primitive Graphics Cylinder

Right click on

opens the Add Graphic or GraphicPair dialog box:

Select the type of graphic, e.g., File or Primitive from the option in the middle of the dialog box. For instance Cylinder.
Once you create the graphic, the Graphic Panel opens, showing the Connectivity tab.

Here, for a cylinder, the points that define the ends of the cylinder must be defined, too.
Parent: Select the body that the graphic is connected to
Origin & Direction: Select the points created/defined before.
The cylinder will be created with default radius of 10. In the Property tab its radius can be changed

Note: Most of the graphics you will use must belong to a body the graphic moves with this body. Exceptions: deformable
surfaces, curves, etc. are defined in a different manner. Under the Properties tab, you specify more details on how the geometry
should look.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Overview On Different Joint Definitions

In MotionView you can create 27 types of Joints. As shown in the figure below, the 27 Joints can be classified into five main

Classification Of Joints That Can Be Created In MotionView

Lower Pair Constraints - A lower pair is an ideal joint that constrains contact between a point, line or plane in the moving body
to a corresponding point, line or plane in a fixed body or another moving body. These have physical analogies (e.g., a revolute
Joint Primitives Joint Primitives constrain combination of individual degrees of freedom between bodies. In most cases there
are no mechanical equivalents for Joint Primitives.
Higher Pair Constraints - In Higher pair constraints, the two bodies are in contact at a point or along a line, as in a ball bearing
or disk cam and follower and the relative motions of coincident points are not same.
Motion as a Constraint A Motion is a prescribed displacement, velocity or acceleration on a body along a specified direction.
When a motion is applied on a body the free degrees of freedom of the body are replaced by the prescribed movement as
specified by the motion, thus a Motion is considered as constraint.
Other Joints This classification consists of constraints which are used to specify algebraic relations between two or more

In the table below an overview on different Joints and Joint Definitions is provided.
G1 and G2 Geometric grid point identification number. Used to identify the bodies to be connected and, for many JTYPEs, the
location of the joint.
G1 and G2 identify the bodies being joined and must, therefore, belong to different bodies.
X3, Y3, Z3 First orientation vector of the joint.
X4, Y4, Z4 Second orientation vector of the joint.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals







MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Continuation of Joint Types






MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Continuation of Joint Types



G1 and G2 Geometric grid point identification number. Used to identify the bodies to be connected and, for many JTYPEs, the
location of the joint.
G1 and G2 identify the bodies being joined and must, therefore, belong to different bodies.
X3, Y3, Z3 First orientation vector of the joint.
X4, Y4, Z4 Second orientation vector of the joint.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


/ Creation

As right mouse click on the Joint symbol opens up the Add Joint or JointPair dialogue window.

Add Joint Or Joint Pair Dialogue

Hint: The recommended naming convention for creating joints is that all joint variable names start with j_. Further the variable
name can be descriptive but should not contain any special characters other than an underscore. Again you may use the same
name for Label and Variable, e.g. j_cylindrical
A joint entity (like most of the entities that are created in MotionView) can be a Single Entity or a Pair Entity. The pair entities
help in creating models which are symmetric about the Z-X Plane of the model (i.e. the Y property is mirrored).
Compliant Joints: Compliant joints are identical to bushings and allow relative motion in all six degrees freedom. The relative
motion will be dependent on the stiffness and damping of the compliant joint. In order for a joint to be compliant, the Allow
compliance option must be enabled at the time of joint creation. This option also allows you to switch back to an idealized
constraint. However, you cannot switch to a compliant joint if you started with a joint that is not defined as compliant.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Example: Adding a revolute joint

We now will add a revolute joint to the body shown in the image below. The body was assigned a primitive geometry of type
cylinder before. Here, the aim is to create a simple pendulum.
This joint must be connected to two bodies.
Location: Point 0 (lower left Point in image)
Rotation axis: global y-direction
Body 1 corresponds to the (green) body named Free Body
Body 2 = Ground Body.

With this information it is straight forward to complete the definition of the revolute joint as shown below:

Zoom in on the graphic to confirm the direction of the joint Z-axis points in the direction of the rotational degree of freedom,
here global y-axis.

Note: The Revolute Joint removes 5 degree of freedom (only rotation wrt to the z-axis is permitted). Note also that Displacement
Initial Condition for Joints is not supported by MotionSolve as of version 12.0. Only Velocity Initial condition is supported.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

5.5.1 Constraints
A joint represents a constraint on the bodies that are connected to it. A revolute joint, for example, only leaves 1 dof free
the bodies can only rotate with respect to each other about the axis of rotation of the joint. The 6 lower pairs are essential for
modeling. Higher pairs are not essential, since they do not form a finite set. In the absence of available elements, they can
sometimes be constructed using combinations of other building blocks.

Constraint Definition: Joints and Motions

Joints and motions in MotionView/MotionSolve are constraints this word has a specific meaning in MBD, and this means that
these are algebraic equations that restrict the relative motion between bodies. In other words, constraints only allow the two
connected bodies to have relative motion in certain specific directions. Motion in all the other directions is prohibited, and the
system is constrained not to move in those directions.
Constraints generally restrict two types of motion:
Dependence on Time
Constraints are classified in several ways. One key classification is based on whether the constraint depends explicitly on time
Constraints without explicit time dependence are used to model joints, such as the ball and socket joint and the universal
Constraints with explicit time dependence are used to represent prescribed motions into the system, such as the constant
speed spinning motion of a turbine.
Constraint Reaction Forces/Torques
Each constraint introduces, internally, constraint forces and/or moments that enforce the algebraic relationship of the
constraint. These constraint forces and moments can be computed using MotionSolve to obtain the loads acting through the
connections in your mechanism. In the case of prescribed motions, the constraint forces provide driving forces and moments
which are useful in estimating the capacity required of actuators to achieve those motions.
Constraints Need Markers
Markers are required for the definition of a joint or motion in order to restrict the relative motion between the bodies. A marker
on one body is called the I-marker, and it must be restrained relative to the marker on the other body (called the J-marker).
Since the marker is fixed to the body, the body is then constrained by the joint.
For example, consider a spherical joint (also known as a ball joint).


This joint constrains two Reference_Markers, I on Body-1 and J on Body-2, such that their origins Oi and Oj are always superposed.

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

The SPHERICAL joint removes three degrees of freedom from a system. Body-2 is allowed to rotate with respect to Body-1.
Relative translation is not allowed.
Note: Notice that the Z-axis is usually the funny axis that defines the behavior of the joint, e.g, the axis of rotational freedom
for the revolute joint and the axis of translational freedom for the translational joint.
Constraints Remove Degrees of Freedom
We have previously discussed that constraints are made up of joints and motions, and these constraints are a set of algebraic
Restriction of motion means that degrees-of-freedom are removed by constraints, since they are represented by algebraic
equations that relate the bodies coordinates to one-another in some fashion.
For example, say you have three independent variables, x, y, Theta (3 DOF), as you would have in a planar system:

Then if you have an algebraic equation that relates them:

This means that y depends on x, and vice versa. For example, if you specify x = 3, then y must be equal to 3 based on our
algebraic constraint. (this is basically as translational constraint in planar space)
3 DOF 1 algebraic constraint = 2 DOF
Thus, there are two degrees-of-freedom in this system, and any two will prescribe the system configuration (it doesnt matter
which you choose). This same concept is true of all of the constraints in MotionView/MotionSolve in three dimensional space.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

The summary provided below is extremely helpful to determine the DOFs of the MBD system


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Grueblers Equation And The Kutzbach Criterion

Calculating the DOFs of an assembly is not easy. If movement is restricted to a plane (that is, if we have a planar mechanism), we
can use Grueblers Equation:
F = 3(n -1) - 2l - h
where F is the total degrees of freedom of the mechanism, n is the number of links (remember to include the ground or frame),
l is the number of lower pairs and h is the number of higher pairs.
Be careful when using the formula it is not foolproof in the sense that it cannot be applied blindly, but needs some judgment.
The mechanism shown below has 1 DOF although Grueblers equation would say it has none!

n = 5 since there are 5 links including the ground, l = 6 since there are 6 lower pairs. The formula fails due to redundancy: removal
of the middle link has no affect on the mechanism. The correct values of n and l should be 4 and 4, respectively, which gives 1 dof.

The DOFs of a mechanism are also called its mobility. This term is used when we want to count the number of input parameters
that must be controlled independently to achieve a particular motion or position. The Kutzbach Criterion, which is used to calculate
the mobility allows for the elimination of partial DOFs by a joint.
Also remember that theres a difference between mechanisms an 3D space
and mechanisms in 2D space. The equation used in 3D has a slightly different form.
If the 2D equation is applied to a 3D mechanism, the answer can be misleading. Take, for instance, the slider-crank mechanism. If
restricted to 2D, there are 4 links in all, with 3 dof each, for a total of 12 dof for the system. If link is grounded, that leaves 9 dofs.
The three revolute joints remove 2 dof each, since they only permit rotation about the axis. This leaves 9 6 = 3 dof. The slider
joint too removes 2 dofs, since it only permits translation along one axis. The system, then, has 1 dof.

If the same calculation is conducted in 3D space, we start with 18 dofs (6 dofs for each of the free links). The 3 revolute joints and
the 1 slider joint remove 5 dof each. As a result, the mechanism is over-constrained!
It is easy to see that a slider-crank mechanism in 3D should, of course, use spherical joints to avoid this situation.

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Now after the introduction in bodies, constraints (joints), degree of freedom, motions etc. is completed, maybe it is better to say
a bit advanced, have a look at the system shown below and think about the model set-up. The objective is to constrain the system
such that DOF=0 (kinematic) condition is given.

How many DOFs (3 bodies) do we have in this system?

Where do you need Joints?
How many Joints do you need in total?
What kind of Joints are suited?
Is there only one solution possible?

translational joint
allows translation in 1 direction only
removes 5 DOFs [-5]

revolute joint
allows rotation wrt 1 axis only
removes 5 DOFs [-5]


inline joint

constraints 1 rotation (e.g. rpm)

constraints 2 translational dofs, i.e

allows translation in 1 direction plus

removes 1 DOFs [-1]

removes 2 DOFs [-2]

revolute joint
allows rotation wrt 1 axis only
removes 5 DOFs [-5]


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

The system is characterized by 18 DOFs. The Joints & Motion constrain 18 DOFs (numbers in [ ..]. Thus, there is no remaining
DOF and hence we are looking at a kinematically constrained system.
Alternatively, you may model the system as:

translational joint
allows translation in 1 direction only
removes 5 DOFs [-5]

ball joint
allows rotation only
removes 3 translational DOFs [-3]

cylindrical joint
constraints 2 translational and 2
rotational dofs
removes 4 DOFs [-4]

revolute joint
allows rotation wrt 1 axis only
removes 5 DOFs [-5]
constraints 1 rotation (e.g. rpm)
removes 1 DOFs [-1]

In this model setup the Inline Joint [-2 DOFs] located at the crankshaft-con-rod connection and the Revolute Joint [-5] at the pistoncon-rod connection were replaced by a Cylindrical Joint [-4] and a Ball Joint [-3].

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Example: Suspension Assembly

(this example is derived from MotionView Tutorial MV-1035 which is included in your HyperWorks installation)
The depicted suspension system consits of 7 bodies, hence 42 DOF. Looking at the kinematics of the sysrem all DOFs must
be constrained.

strut rod

strut tube

axle shaft

wheel hub
lower control arm


Hint: The following joints and motions are to be build in:

2 Translationals joints [-5 DOF each]
1 Universal joint [-4]
2 Fix joints [-6, each]
1 Ball joint [-3]
2 Revolute joints [-5 each]
1 Inplane joint [-1]
2 Motions [-1 each]


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

universal joint [-4]

translational joint [-5]

fix joint [-6]

motion [-1]
revolution joint [-5]

revolution joint [-5]

ball joint [-5]

inplane joint [-5]

translational joint [-5]

The model check reveals:


motion [-1]

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Redundant Constraints
It is possible to over-specify the constraints in a model. In this case, the system is said to be over-constrained, and the
constraints are said to be redundant.
For instance, in our previous example, the constraint equation for x and y was:
What if we add the equation?:
2x 2y = 0
Clearly, you can see that this equation constrains X and Y identically to the first equation. Thus, this equation is redundant.

For a mechanical example, consider a door connected to a frame as shown in the figure below.

A Simple System With Redundant Constraints

Both the door and the frame are assumed to be rigid. Three hinges connect the door to the frame, allowing the door to open and
close. The hinges are modeled as revolute joints. In this idealization, the hinges are assumed to be massless and rigid. Each
hinge allows rotation between the door and the frame about an axis, shown as a red arrow in the Figure above.
In this idealization, a couple of points should be noted:
The hinge axes are required to be perfectly collinear. Otherwise the door cannot be opened or closed.
Only one hinge is truly necessary. The remaining two are redundant.
If such a system is provided to MotionSolve, it will detect a redundancy in the constraints and remove the equivalent of two
hinges from the model. It will solve the system so that the correct motion is predicted.
Note: The effect of removing two hinges from the solution process is to set their reaction forces to zero. Clearly, this is unexpected
behavior. In reality, all three hinges have reaction forces and torques. This is an issue with the idealization of the system. If at
least one of two bodies, the door or the frame, were made flexible, then more realistic reactions would be observed at each

Avoid Redundant Constraints

It is extremely rare that a model requires the use of redundant constraints there is usually a way to remove them, even if it is
not obvious at first. Redundant constraints may work fine with the solver. But, occasionally, they can cause a constraint to be
removed in a strange manner. If you see some strange results in your simulation, the first thing to always do is to remove any
redundant constraints.
Use joint primitives to precisely impose only the necessary constraints and avoid introducing redundant ones. This may
require much thought in case of complex mechanisms.

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Examples of redundant constraints:

Rigid door with 2 or 3 revolute joints to model hinges (wrong)
- Correct modeling is: 1 revolute joint to door
- Degrees of freedom: 6 free body DOFs 5 constraints = 1 DOF
Four-bar mechanism with 4 revolute joints (wrong)
- Correct modeling is: ground revolute joint part1 ball joint part2 universal joint part3
revolute joint ground
- Degrees of freedom: (3*6=)18 free body DOFs (5+3+4+5 =17) constraints = 1 DOF
Build your models one constraint at a time for complicated mechanism, and use the MotionSolve messaging to help
determine if/when you introduce a redundant constraint. Example MotionSolve message for the over-constrained
four-bar mechanism with four revolute joints, which tells you that three redundant constrains exist, but there is one
DOF for this model:

If the above step is not feasible, then consider using flexible bodies or replace idealized joints with bushings. Flexible bodies
add degrees of freedom to your model and reduce the likelihood of a redundant constraint. They may also provide more
accurate results.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Joint Primitives

Joint Primitives (JPRIMs) are just like joints in that they remove translational and rotational DOF from bodies, but these do not
necessarily have a direct physical analogy, outside of an ATPOINT jprim, which is identical to a ball joint. JPRIMs are often used
in combination with other joints to model systems without introducing redundant constraints. They also can be used to model
more complicated mechanisms.
The Table below shows the list of joint primitives that can be created in MotionView along with the DOF that each joint primitive

List Of Constraints And DOF Removed By Each Constraint

Joint Primitives (JPRIM) Example - INPLANE

This is a constraint primitive that requires that the origin of a Reference_Marker on Body-1 (I in the figure below) to stay in the
XY plane defined by the origin of the J Reference_Marker and its z-axis. The Figure below shows a schematic of an INPLANE
The INPLANE primitive constrains one translational
degree of freedom. It prohibits translation along the
z-axis of the Reference_Marker J on Body-2. All rotations
are allowed.
This joint is often used in a two or four-post testrig for
suspensions. This INPLANE jprim keeps the wheel in
the plane of the testrig platen for motion in jounce and
rebound, but allows the wheel to rotate in any direction
and to move fore-aft (x-direction) and laterally (y-direction).

Notice again that the z-axis of the marker is the funny axis that describes the behavior of the constraint.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Higher Pair Constraints

Higher pair constraints are just like joints in that they remove translational and rotational DOF from bodies. The table below
shows the list of higher pair constraints that can be created in MotionView along with the DOF that each joint primitive removes.

List Of Higher Pair Constraints

There are only 6 lower pairs, but any number of higher pairs can be constructed. Several higher pairs are fairly esoteric, which means
their applications are restricted to specific domains. Modeling elements for tires, for instance, are called for almost exclusively by
vehicle-dynamics designers. Some higher pairs can be constructed using simpler modeling elements, if the modeling tool supports
programmatic control. For instance, a one-way clutch can be modeled using a bush together with an if statement to change
properties based on the direction of rotation (MotionView provides support both for bushes and for programmatic control).
In higher pair constraints, the two bodies are in contact at a point or along a line, as in a ball bearing or disk cam and follower
and the relative motions of coincident points are not same.
Recall the Definitions: Lower Pair Constraints - A lower pair is an ideal joint that constrains contact between a point, line
or plane in the moving body to a corresponding point, line or plane in a fixed body or another moving body. These have
physical analogies (e.g., a revolute joint).
Joint Primitives Joint Primitives constrain combination of individual degrees of freedom between bodies. In most cases
there are no mechanical equivalents for Joint Primitives.

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Curve-to-Curve (CVCV) Constraint

The curve-to-curve constraint is useful for modeling cams where the point of contact
between two parts changes during the motion of the system. The curves always maintain
contact, however, even when the physics of the model might dictate that one curve lift off
the other. You can examine the constraint forces to determine if any lift-off should have

Degrees of Freedom Removed

The curve-curve constraint removes three degrees of freedom from the system. When the
body of the first curve is fixed in space, the second curve is allowed to move in three ways:
It can slide along the first curve,
roll on the first curve, and
rotate about the common tangent at the point of contact.
The curve-to-curve constraint does not enforce the condition that the curves remain coplanar. One or both of the curves may
be 3D curves. The curves can rotate about the common tangent at the point of contact, therefore they can move out of plane
even when both curves are planar curves. Both open and closed curves supported.

Two higher-pairs that are extremely common are cams and gears.
A cam rotates about an axis and pushes a follower. The cam usually rotates at a uniform speed, and
the profile of the cam is chosen so as to deliver the required motion to the follower. There are various
classifications of both cams and followers, most of which reflect the topology or shape of the respective
elements. The follower is usually spring loaded to ensure that it stays in contact with the cam all through
the rotation cycle.

Image from http://en.wikipedia.


Design interest centers principally around two things:

1. the profile the cam should have to achieve a required motion the rise, dwell and return
2. the velocities and accelerations of the follower, and the resulting forces on the various components in the assembly
The first is usually the more interesting problem, but the second is no less challenging. Sometimes the cam profile is determined to
match a specified follower-motion, but such cams can be expensive to manufacture. Often a predetermined cam profile is chosen
and the follower of the motion is to be determined so that the design of the rest of the assembly can be tailored accordingly.
The joint between the cam and its follower is maintained by contact. General contact can be used, but this approach is subject
to the difficulties discussed in the Chapter on Contact. It is usually more computationally efficient to use point-to-curve (PTCV) or
point-to-surface (PTSF) constraints. This approach does sacrifice some of the generality offered by a full-fledged contact model.
For instance, the PTCV constraint does not allow for contact to be broken. But at the concept design stage, the analysis is usually
a kinematic analysis, since the goal is to derive the required profile of the cam.
Once this is done constraints like the PTCV can be used to verify that there has been no loss of contact. If there is indeed loss
of contact, full fledged contact modeling is essential. Contact between the cam and follower can break if the spring-load is not
enough to compensate for the inertial forces (that is, forces due to the accelerations the bodies experience). In engine-design this
is commonly called valve float, because cams are mainly used in the engine to control the valve timing of four-stroke engines. The
term lift-off is also used in several applications.

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

There are two distinct problems posed by gears, which serve to transmit torque between different axes of
rotation. The transmission of torque is by positive engagement of the teeth. Accordingly, the tooth itself
needs to be designed for strength. The design of gear teeth is a subject that is normally not covered by MBD
simulation. MBD analysis can help calculate the tooth-loads, and these loads can then be used as input for
a stress analysis program usually using Finite Element Analysis.
The other main class of problems deals with the design of the gear train itself. Gear trains range from the
aptly named simple gear trains to the amazingly complex epicyclic gear trains. In these cases, analyzing
the motion of the output shaft and calculating the ratio of input and output torques are the main areas of
The images of a 4-bar mechanism with two gears (on the right), taken from an animation at the KMODDL,
(Kinematic Model for Design Digital Library; illustrate how complex the
motion can be.
Calculating the efficiency of the gear train is an important but tedious task even for gears whose axes of
rotation are fixed, like the worm-driven helicalrack- and-pinion shown below.
Gear models in MBD are relatively easy to build. Revolute joints define the axes of rotation of the shafts,
while the gear joint represents the constraint between the two revolute joints.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

5.6 Expressions
Expressions are used in different ways, for instance to parameterize entities (coordinates of points etc.) and/or to define specific
output request (for postprocessing).
Lets have a look at Parameterization via Expressions
From the Properties tab, coordinates can be entered as real numbers or as mathematical expressions.

Note: The Field Turns Blue If It Is Defined By An Expression

Each entity in MotionView has attributes in the model database that can be referenced via expressions, a design-time or runtime function used by a modeling entity in MotionView.
For example, a point in MotionView has the following attributes which can be accessed:

To access an attribute, use the dot notation using the variable names of the entities in the model:
For example,
returns the x-coordinate of the point that defines the global origin.
returns the x-coordinate of the ground bodys center-of-gravity markers x-coordinate.
Note: Expressions are case-sensitive.
The properties of a point entity can be parameterized with respect to other model properties. The main benefit of parameterizing
point properties is that the coordinates of points can automatically change when the controlling parameters change.
Parameterization is an easy way to describe a model in terms of its design variables.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Consider the following case where we have two points in the model:
Point A (p_0) where the X, Y, Z coordinates of the point are 100, 0, 0 respectively
Point B (p_1) where the coordinates of the Point B are such that X coordinate value should be 100 units more than X
coordinate value of Point A.
For this case the coordinates of the points can be parameterized in this way:
Point B = X Coordinate of Point A + 100, Y Coordinate of Point A + Z Coordinate of Point A
The use of Expression Builder comes in very handy when setting up parameterization in MotionView models. Expression Builder
can be evoked by clicking on the fx button on the points panel.

Then select the x-coordinate of reference point A (p_0) and the desired value of 100

You will find more information about expressions in other chapters, e.g. Spring_Mass System.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Coordinate Systems And Marker Definition

A coordinate system, or reference frame, is a system used to uniquely measure the position of a geometric element. In
MotionView, we will be using a Cartesian coordinate system, (i.e., three orthogonal/perpendicular vectors), which is righthanded (point fingers in xdirection, wrap to y-direction, gives thumb in z-direction).

Coordinate systems are critical in MBD analyses. Displacements of

are almost always large, so bodies may change orientation during the
of interest. We know that properties like the moments of inertia are
dependent on the coordinate system used.
In such a situation specifying data with respect to an immutable
global coordinate system does not make sense. Local coordinate
systems associated with a joint or a body are usually used instead.

A marker is a coordinate system attached to a body.

Every model has a Global Reference frame, which is the inertial (fixed) reference frame from which all coordinates are ultimately
Each body has a local part reference frame (LPRF; also known as a body coordinate system, BCS), used by MotionSolve to
measure the position of the body. By default, the LPRF is located at the same location and orientation as ground, but can be
redefined if desired.
Recall: A marker is a coordinate system attached to a body.
Markers are often created automatically/internally for you by the panels. For example, in the Body Panel, the Body Coordsys tab
will create a marker for MotionSolve by specifying:
Location > Point
This marker will not be visible in the Model Browser; however, you can access its attributes in Expression Builder, and MotionView
will automatically create the marker in the MotionSolve model (.xml).

Markers can also, however, be created explicitly, if needed, via the Markers



MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Markers In Body Panel

The Body panel in MotionView will create markers for your body based on the data specified in the panels. These markers will
be implicit you will not see them in the Model Browser.
Center-of-Mass marker (CM): Only the location of the marker is used for the CM; however, the inertia marker can default to
the CM marker, in which case the orientation is important, too. If the CM coordinates are not explicitly specified, the center of
mass coordinates of the body will be set to Global (the default setting).
Inertia marker (IM): The inertia properties of a body are defined relative to the inertia
coordinate system. If the inertia coordinate system is not defined, MotionView uses the center
of mass coordinate system as the inertial frame for the body.
Recall that the moment of inertia is a function of mass and the distance of the mass as
measured from particular axes, which is why the orientation of the marker is critical to the
inertia definition.
Body coordinate system (BCS marker): The body coordinate system (BCS) is used to define a local reference frame for the
body. This is used by MotionSolve to compute the position and orientation of the body. MotionView creates an implicit marker Marker LPRF --belonging to the body.
Note: MotionSolve defines all markers with regard to the Global Coordinate System (GCS). In the MotionSolve result plot files
(*.mrf or *.abf), the part positions and orientation that are reported are those of the body coordinate system.


Force Overview

A concentrated force, at its most basic, can de defined as a vector: the magnitude, orientation and point of application are
enough to completely specify the force. Other forces, require more general definitions, since not all forces can be modeled as
point forces
For modeling of physical systems, for instance, one force that is widely required is gravity.
In mechanics, gravity is called a body force since it acts at all points in the body, and the force
experienced by the body depends on the distribution of mass within the body. From a numericalcalculation point of view, the smoother the force is, the easier it is to calculate the solution. The
smoothness of a function is usually measured by its continuity: a function with n derivates that
exist is smoother than one that has n-1 derivatives that exist. This smoothness definition, of course,
applies both to spatial derivatives and time derivatives. Since MBD models take a lumped-approach
by abstracting the bodies as pairs (that is, links connected at nodes and constrained by joints), for
MBD the smoothness normally relates to the time-derivatives of the prescribed forces. A force that
has a sudden jump in time like a stepfunction is less tractable than a ramp function, for example.
The derivatives of the step function, shown in red, are not defined24 at the time where the force
steps up.

The term force generically refers to both applied forces and applied moments. Force elements are commonly used for modeling:
applied/driving forces

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

compliant connections
the effects of the environment on the system
contact between bodies

Compliant Connections
Examples of compliant connections include:
Environmental Effects
Examples of environmental effects include:
gravity (which may or may not be constant)
aerodynamic forces
hydrodynamic pressure

Force Definition
Force elements may be defined as arbitrary functions of any state variables in the system and time. You will define a force using
system states of angular displacement and angular velocity later in the exercise.
The functional form of the force description may be:
an interpolated curve
an analytical expression
a user-defined subroutine in C++, C, FORTRAN, python, or MATLAB scripts
Vector forces can be specified by their components in arbitrary reference frames (i.e., using a marker). Scalar forces act along
the line connecting the origins of markers.
Note: Forces should ideally be smooth
When modeling a force, you must make sure that the force is, at the very minimum, continuous. It is better if the forcing
functions are smooth (without kinks) and do not change dramatically with respect to the independent variables (frequency
content is not very high). If the force has undamped, high frequency content, the system motion may have higher frequencies
as well, causing the integrator to take smaller step sizes, which ultimately results in slow run times.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Example - Force Panel

The Forces panel allows you to edit the orientation and properties of forces.

Connectivity Tab
The Connectivity tab on the Forces panel allows you to select the bodies and points to which a force is applied. The type of
action and direction of the force are specified with option menus.
Forces can be action-only or action-reaction.
An action-only force only acts on body 1.
An action-reaction force exerts equal and opposite forces on body 1 and body 2.
Forces can have explicit translational and rotational components, or they can act along a line-of-action between two points.


Action only

create an action only force.

Action reaction

create an action-reaction force.



Body 1

select the body to which the action force is applied.

Body 2

select the body to which the reaction force is applied (action-reaction only).


select the point or points at which the force is applied.

Ref Marker

specify the local reference frame of the force.




apply a force that has only translational components.


apply a force that has only rotational components.

TransRotational apply a force that has both translational and rotational components.
Line Of Action

apply a line-of-action force between two points. The force will only have components in the direction
along the line connecting the two points. This option is only available for action-reaction forces.

Single Comp

apply a single-component-rotational force between two bodies about a specified axis. This option is
available for action-reaction forces.

User-defined Forces

The User-defined properties option allows you to specify a force subroutine for writing the solver


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Trans Properties and Rot Properties Tabs

The Trans Properties and Rot Properties tabs on the Forces panel allows you to define the components of a force with respect
to a reference coordinate system.

The magnitude of a force component can be defined using a constant value, math expression, or template expression
For: Enter:
Tx, Ty, Tz

Linear constant rotational force.

Tx, Ty, Tz

Curve rotational force expressed in the form of a torque vs. displacement curve which is a function of a
set of independent variables.

Tx, Ty, Tz

Expression rotational force expressed in the form of a solver function.

5.6.3 Curves
Curves, also known as splines, are 2 or 3-dimensional data , i.e.
X vs. Y
X and Y vs. Z
Curve Uses
Forces: nonlinear characteristics for the forces, e.g., a spring force
vs. deformation characteristic or a damping force vs. deformation
velocity characteristic
Motions: displacements vs. time, velocity vs. time, and/or
acceleration vs. time data.
Constraints: constraint paths for high-pair joint types (e.g.,
curve-to-curve joint)
The Curves panel allows you to add and edit curves. The x and y data vectors for a single curve can come from any of three
sources File, Math, or
Values. For example, the
x-data vector can come from a
file, and the y-data vector can
be defined as a mathematical
function of x.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Interpolation/Extrapolation Functions Use Curves

Since the data in a curve is at discrete points, a function must be used to interpolate and/or extrapolate the data for times
when there is not direct data point available in the curve. Interpolation can be done either using the AKIMA (AKISPL) , CUBIC
(CUBSPL), or QUINTIC (QUISPL) interpolation method. These functions are supported in the MotionSolve expression language.
Both AKIMA and CUBIC use cubic polynomials to perform interpolation, but differ in many important ways.
The AKIMA fitting algorithm uses local methods to calculate the spline coefficients. No matrices are ever inverted. For this
reason, it is preferred when the reference spline has many data points. The key disadvantage with this method is that is has
non-smooth derivatives, especially when the data points are not equally spaced. The AKIMA method consequently must never
be used for interpolating Motion data.
The Cubic fitting algorithm ensures a much smoother fit by utilizing natural splines. Consequently, it is much better at
calculating derivatives of the resulting spline. However, it is not good at modeling sharp corners in the data. For splines with
two independent variables (3D splines), the interpolation along the second independent variable is always linear, regardless of
the choice of interpolation along the first independent variable.

The panels in MotionView that support curve data will help create the interpolation functions for you, so at this point you dont
need to know the syntax of these functions.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


MOTION Function

A prescribed motion, strictly speaking, is a constraint: it removes the necessity to calculate one or more dofs. Since the motion
dictates how the dofs move, the dofs are no longer free. Usually specified for a joint, prescribed motion can be arbitrarily
complex both in space and in time.

Generally, there is a function to measure the force and/or torque in every type of entity in MotionSolve that produces a force/
torque. For example:
Bushing entity


BUSH function

Joint entity


JOINT function

Motion entity


MOTION function

Add A Motion
The previous model had one degree of freedom, which means it was a dynamic model.
Next, lets try to set this up as a kinematic model in which there are no remaining DOFs.
The motion in this case will be prescribed by the constraints. For this, we use a motion. A motion is similar to a joint in that it is
a constraint that affects DOFs, however, motions are dependent on time.

Right click on the Motions

icon to open the Add Motion or MotionPair dialog

After creating the motion in the Add Motion panel, the Connectivity and Properties must be defined.

Click the Properties tab to set the magnitude, then select Expression from the Define by: menu.

Enter `sin(2*pi*time)` as the value for the expression.

Note: The use of back quotes (`) around the expression these are required. Single or double quotes will not work.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

We may also define an Initial Condition on the joint (here: Revolute Joint) instead of a motion.
Select Joint 0 in the Project Browser, and click on Initial Conditions to open the tab for the revolute joint.
Here, we are able to set initial conditions for the displacement and velocity of the joint. Since this is a revolute joint, only rotation
settings are available.
Enter 10 for the Velocity (Rotation)
Note: The units for rotations in MotionSolve are
in radians, so these velocity units are radians/
If there are conflicting initial conditions within the model, the order of precedence for initial conditions is:
1. Motion
2. Joint
3. Body


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Run The Check Model Utility

The Check Model utility (available from Tools > Check Model) allows users to check the total estimated remaining degrees-offreedom (DOF) within the model. It computes the Gruebler count, which is:
Estimated DOF = 6*n c
n = number of movable bodies (i.e., not ground!)
c = number of constraint equations
This utility is currently not sophisticated enough to identify/find redundant constraints, such as identical joints on top of each
other, in order to get an accurate answer for those cases. For cases without redundant constraints, however, it will provide
an accurate count. It may also be useful for cases where you know the number of DOF for the model, and the count shows a
different number, which means that the mechanism needs to be modified.
Click Tools > Options > Check Model to open the options dialog.
Activate all the checkboxes in the Check Model screen

Click Tools > Check Model to open the Check Model dialog.

Here: n= 1 (our free body), c = 5 (revolute joint

constraints 5 dofs, see above)

Notice that the degrees-of-freedom removed by

the joint is 5. The total estimated degrees-offreedom remaining is 1.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Output Request

Right click on the Add Output

icon to open the Add Output dialog.

Click OK to make a default Output request.

Select Displacement as the output type

Selecting Entity Set under Outputs will create outputs for each and all of the same type of entities within the model, whether
Bodies, Points, etc.

The choice of reference marker by default is the Global Frame.

Many of the entities in MotionView/MotionSolve require markers to define them, which will include an I marker on one body,
and a J marker on the other body. For example, measuring the displacement between two bodies, between the I marker and
the J marker. This drop-down specifies whether the output measurement should be of the I marker (on the body), J marker (the
marker we are measuring with respect to), or Both.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Another Output request example: Extract the Torque associated with an applied Motion.

Right click on the Add Output

icon to open the Add Output dialog.

Then, open the Outputs panel

Activate the F2 field, then click on

to open the Expression Builder, and select the Force tab.

Click / Select MOTION from the listed options. This will then prompt the command
`MOTION({},{},{},{})` in the Expression Builder
To better understand the next steps, lets have a look at the required syntax of the MOTION command:
MOTION(id, jflag, comp, RM)
This function returns the specified component of the force or torque due to the Motion_Joint or Motion_Marker element.
Id - The ID of the Motion_Joint or Motion_Marker element.
Jflag - jflag equal to 0 or 1 means that forces and moments are reported at the I or J marker, respectively.
1 - returns the force magnitude.

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

2 - returns the force x component.

3 - returns the force y component.
4 - returns the force z component.
5 - returns the torque magnitude.
6 - returns the torque x component.
7 - returns the torque y component.
8 - returns the torque z component.
RM - The reference frame in which the components are reported; RM=0 implies the global
Once the Motion command is displayed in the Expression Builder select the Properties tab.
In the list of previously defined Motions we select idstring

Recall the syntax: MOTION(id, jflag, comp, RM)

As Jflag we provide the input 0, i.e. this means that forces and moments are reported at the I marker. To return the torque
y-component we enter 7, as RM we enter 0 i.e. global frame.
The expression should appear as `MOTION({mot_1.idstring},0,7,0)`


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Executing MotionSolve -The Run Panel

MotionSolve can solve several different classes of problems. The most general class consists of problems in dynamic analysis,
where the system can have more than one uncontrolled dof. Static analysis is most often used to compute the equilibrium
configuration of a mechanism. Kinematic analysis, used for systems that have no uncontrolled dofs, is typically used early in the
design cycle, at the concept stage. Quasi-static analysis is applicable when the forces change with time, but do so slowly. This
means inertial forces can be ignored, and the static equilibrium equations can be solved at each instant of time. Stability analysis
is a good example of its usage.
MotionSolve does not read MDL or MVW files. Instead, MotionView creates an XML file that is used as input by MotionSolve.
Several different output files can be generated. The important ones are:
Log files (<filename>.log) contain the history of the solution. Its a good practice to review the log files after every analysis,
checking for errors or warnings.
Altair binary files (<filename>.abf) are used to generated animations in MotionView
HyperView 3D Player files (<filename>.h3d) can be viewed without HyperWorks, using the free player
Plot files (<filename>.h3d) are used to generate graphs with HyperGraph
Remember that MotionSolve has to solve non-linear equations, and has to numerically integrate the differential equations of
motion. The numerical solution of the non-linear equations is iterative. That is, the solver first guesses at a set of values and
checks whether these form the solution at that instant of time or not. If theres an error, the software corrects the guess and
repeats the cycle until the error is within an acceptable tolerance. Once this happens, the software concludes that the iteration
has converged, and moves onto the next time step. If the error does not fall within the specified tolerance within a specified set of
iterations, the software concludes that the solution has diverged (i.e. not converged) and gives up the hunt for the answer.
MotionSolves default settings for the numerical algorithms are usually adequate, but in advanced situations, you will need to
choose between the Maximum Kinetic Energy Attrition method and the Force Imbalance method, between the Adams-BashforthAdams-Moulton and VSTIFF / MSTIFF integrators, the integration-time-step size, the iteration tolerance etc.
Familiarity with the mathematics is, of course, essential for proper choice of these settings. The online documentation is a good
place to cover these topics.
One warning, however, is that the default settings work well for a wide range of physically realistic problems. That is, for problems
where the properties of various entities in the system are realistic. Entering meaningless values, or neglecting to check for
consistency in units are the first things to check for if MotionSolve fails to converge.
The solver input deck format for MotionSolve is XML.

The Run


The first part of the MBD-Simulation cycle involves building the model. The second part, which we have largely taken for granted in
our discussion, relates to the methods used to solve the equations of motion. A complete discussion of the various methodologies
employed is beyond the scope of this book, but one aspect is worth discussing.
The three measures of performance of a solution algorithm are stability, accuracy and efficiency.
Efficiency is easy to understand and measure. It is the amount of CPU time and disk space the solver requires to carry out the
calculations. Stability and accuracy are a little harder both to understand and to measure. A stable method need not be accurate,
while a method can be unstable and still yield accurate results at particular combinations of circumstances. To understand this,
reflect for a moment on which you would rather have a watch that has stopped or a watch that loses 5 seconds a day? The former
is 100% accurate twice a day, but you have no idea when. The latter gets more and more inaccurate as time passes, but you can
always tell how inaccurate it is, and therefore correct accordingly. Stability of a method allows us to refine the parameters safe in
the knowledge that we can predict the effect on accuracy. Accuracy without stability is meaningless.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

In MBD simulation, stability relates to performance of the algorithm used for numerical integration. Apart from the choice of the
algorithm itself, the time step (Dt) used for the integration also matters. Since MBD models involve a fairly high level of abstraction,
numerical solution algorithms tend to be tuned for specific applications.
Some of the main features of Run panel are the following:

Sim type: linear, static, quasi-static, transient (kinematic or dynamic) analysis

Save and run current model: Saves a MotionSolve .xml and runs the model in your MotionView session
Run MotionSolve file allows you to run an existing .xml file, not the model in the MotionView session
Save as: the name and location of the MotionSolve (.xml) model; the root name of the MotionSolve model will be used for the
root name of the results files, too

Check: examines the model for any errors and/or warnings (happens automatically if choosing Run button, too)
Run: sends the model to MotionSolve, as specified in Run panel
Animate: creates a new HyperView window with the current run results
Plot: creates a new HyperGraph window with the current run results

Simulation Parameters
End time and Print (output) interval


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Integrator settings (type, maximum step size, etc.). Use these to control the accuracy and performance of the solver.

For more information on solver settings, see Param_Static, Param_Transient, and Param_Simulation in the MotionSolve
Reference Guide, Model Statements (part of your HyperWorks installation)
Control on the result file written and their contents


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

5.8 Post-Processing
Once the solution is completed by the MBD solver, the solver generates different types of output files that can be used to view
animation and plots.
MBD analysis is a fairly simple in the types of outputs generated: animations of movement and plots of forces, accelerations,
velocities, displacements against time are the main data generated.
Whats challenging, though, is to check whether the data is realistic. It can be very tempting to accept the results as right, when
it is usually more correct to use them to gain an insight. Accepting the results of an MBD simulation without some correlation with
other sources of information like physical tests is rarely a good idea.
As in all other forms of engineering analysis, verification and validation are distinct, though they go hand in hand.
Validation consists of asking whether the right equations have been solved. Verification involves checking whether the equations
have been solved correctly.
Data like the coefficient of friction should not be taken for granted. It is always sensible to check the design for performance over
a range of values, rather than for single values of data.
A question raised by a user of simulation software serves to drive the point home:
My simulation results arent matching up with test results. My model contains springs which naturally have some damping. How
would I go about determining the damping coefficient?
The answer, of course, lies in a judicious mix of theory and practice. A test can suggest values, but tests are rarely repeatable. A
wise designer would first check the theory underlying the model used in the solver, then tune the model by selecting a value that
does a good job of reproducing the test results without violating the assumptions implicit in the theory. System Identification and
Design Of Experiment are techniques well suited to this task.
The following table provides information on the output files generated by MotionSolve and the relevant HyperWorks Desktop
clients which can be used to visualize results:

* Use with MAF as a model file in HyperView

Plotting And Animating Results

Click the Plot or Animate button on the Main tab in the Run panel


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

This will then either open up HyperGraph (plotting) or HyperView (animation). The corresponding results file of type * abf or h3d
will be read automatically into HyperGraph or HyperView.
Note: A basic introduction into HyperView and HyperGraph can be found in the chapter entitled:
Introduction In Postprocessing with HyperView and HyperGraph

Now, after (almost) all is said, it is time to apply the previously learned basics ...
In the video series below a simple Pendulum Mechanism is created, and analyzed (the videos are originally from our team in
Korea and then converted into English language by Prakash Pagadala).

Part I; 8 minutes,

Part II; 7minutes,

Part III; 10 minutes,


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals


Example - Four Bar Mechanism

The example discussed below is also part of your HyperWorks installation.

I. Create a simple rigid body (with its CM located the global origin) which will fall under the influence of gravity.
Define model units and orientation of gravity

Create rigid body (with its CM located the global origin)

Note, the Point of the global origin is automatically available/predefined; thus there is no need to create this point manually.

The mass and inertia values are not important yet, so these are just dummy values for now.
Mass 1 in the Mass field.
lxx, lyy, and lzz = 1111

Use center of mass coordinate system, as Point select global origin.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Save model as mbd file; free_body.mdl

Save the model as xml file (in the Run

panel), specify the Simulation Parameters t= 1, interval 0.01

Plot results )activate the Plot option from within the Run panel). Make sure you are in the Build Plots menu (marked
yellow in the figure below).

Click Body for Y Type (since no specific outputs were created, all solution information is contained within the Y Type: Body, which
is the default output from MotionSolve).
Click Part/30102 Free Body for the Y Request and click the Z coordinate as the Y Component.
II. Build a four-bar mechanism
Create Points: Point1 (0, 0, 0), Point 2(50, 0, 50) & Body CG location (25,
0, 25)
Create Body: mass =1Kg, Ixx = Iyy= Izz=1000, CG = Body CG point, Inertia
frame = same as body CG

Definition of the inertia frame which is the same as the body CG.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Create Geometry

: Cylinder references points 1 and 2; radius of the cylinder is set to 2

Save the model, run the analysis and view the motion of the body with HyperGraph and HyperView. The motion of the body
can now be animated in HyperView due to the assigned primitive geometry.
III. Initial Condition and Output
Assign initial conditions (velocity) to the body: 1000 in the positive Vz direction

Create an Output

for specific measurements of interest, here displacement of the body

Save the model, run the analysis and view the motion of the body with HyperGraph and HyperView.

Create Joint

: Location = Point1, Type = Revolute joint, Joint orientation = Global Y-axis


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Run the Check Model Utility

Notice that the degrees-of-freedom removed by the joint is 5. The total estimated degrees-of-freedom remaining is 1.
Save the model, run the analysis and view the motion of the body with HyperGraph and HyperView.
The near the top in the output/log file can read:
total number of independent coordinates = 1, which means that MotionSolve
will use a dynamic analysis to compute the time-evolution of this mechanical


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Create a motion

and run a kinematic analysis

The previous model had one degree of freedom, which means it was a dynamic model. Next, set this model up as a kinematic
model in which there are no remaining DOFs. For this, we use a motion. A motion is similar to a joint in that it is a constraint that
affects DOFs, however, motions are dependent on time.
Also recall: Motions must be connected to joints.
Here: Motion will be of type displacement: `sin(2*pi*time)` applied to the revolution joint.

Run the Check Model Utility

DOF = 0, indicating that it is a kinematic model

Save the model, run the analysis and view the motion of the body with HyperGraph and HyperView.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Instead of applying a Motion we are now assigning a initial velocity to the revolute joint of 10 Radians per second
deactivate the motion defined before (in the Model Browser). Make sure that the initial velocity of the body is deactivated as

Save the model, run the analysis and view the motion of the body with HyperGraph and HyperView.

IV. Four-Bar Linkage, Redundant Constraints, Joint Primitives

In the following we will add more points, bodies and three more joints to the model which we built so far in order to create a
four-bar mechanism.
Definition: A four-bar linkage, also called a four-bar, is the simplest movable closed chain linkage. It consists of four bodies,
called bars or links, connected in a loop by four joints. Generally, the joints are configured so the links move in parallel planes,
and the assembly is called a planar four-bar linkage (
In the process of creating this, you will also investigate redundant constraints and modify your model to remove them. You will
also use a MOTION() function to measure the torque from a motion driving the model and plot this.
Investigate joint primitives
Create joints and joint primitives
Investigate and remove redundant constraints
Create an Output based on a MOTION function to measure torque of the motion


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Create additional Points and update existing ones (rename & new coordinates) according to the data listed in the Table below.
Rename Point 0 to Point A, Point 2 to Point C, Point body_cg to Point B

Also, create two more bodies (mass = 1, inertia =1111, dummy values), and assign (implicit) graphics
(of type cylinder, radius 2).

Then create 3 more Revolute Joints and finally apply a Motion

expression `1*time` (Recall to use the back quotes `).


to the new bodies

as shown in the figure below (on Joint 4, with the

MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Run Model Check To Check The Model

Tools > Check Model, to check the model.

The estimated DOF for the model is now at -3. The motion created redundant constraints on the model. Each Revolute joint
covers 5 degrees of freedom. So 4 joints * 5 dof = 20 dof. Plus there is 1 degree of freedom from a motion. Since there was 18
original degrees of freedom, that leaves -3 for the estimated degrees of freedom.
Moreover, since we know this model should have zero DOF (=kinematic), this means there are redundant constraints in the
Running the model and reviewing the LOG file prompts a warning about redundant or over constrained modeling.
Partitioning generalized coordinates...
WARNING: Row Deficiency Detected!
This may indicate a kinematic or over-constrained model.
Program will continue with redundant constraints removal.
WARNING: The following redundant constraints were removed:
------------------------------------------------(1) Joint/301004 : DOT1 between Y of Part/30101 & Z of Part/30104
(2) Joint/301002 : DOT1 between X of Part/30103 & Z of Part/30102
(3) Joint/301002 : SPH_Y between Part/30103 & Part/30102
The message indicates that there are three redundant constraints, but do not identify which joints they belong to, so you will
need to go back and investigate your model further to remove them.
Note: Before continuing on with the exercise, go back to your model and consider how to remove the 3 redundant constraints.
It is extremely important to understand how the chosen joint constraints the system.
Maybe helpful in this regard is the Joint DOF tables found in the MotionView Joint Panel documentation for assistance.
Help > HyperWorks Desktop > MotionView > MotionView Panels > Joints Panel (also included in this chapter)


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

A possible solution to the above problem (DOF = -3) is to replace a Revolute Joint with an Inline Joint or maybe even with a
combination of spherical joint and cylindrical joint ...

2 revolute joints (-10), motion (-1), cylindrical joint (-4), spherical joint (-3)

Tip: Start with the joints which pin the bars to the ground, e.g. revolute joints (-10). The motion takes away another DOF (-1). Now
check up the table which lists how many DOFs are removed by which kind of joint ...

3 revolute joints (-15), motion (-1), inline joint (-2)

How does the inline jprim (joint primitiv) fix the redundant constraints in this model?
The inline joint removes 2 translational DOF by constraining two markers (bodies) to move along a line relative to each other
(i.e., 1 DOF along the axis that defines this JPRIM). In this model, since each link in the system is already constrained to planar
motion by the revolute joints, the inline jprim is only needed to keep a point on the ends of two links in the same location.
Again, understanding how the joints affect the DOF of the system is key!


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

In the video shown below Prakash Pagadala repeats some basic fundamentals by building a four bar mechanism; 22 minutes


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Create outputs
(more details about the MOTION command which is used to return the specified component of the force or torque due to
the Motion_Joint or Motion_Marker element, are provided earlier in this chapter or see the Help Documentation: Solver-MotioSolve--Motion)

MOTION(id, jflag, comp, RM)

id: The ID of the Motion_Joint or Motion_Marker element.
jflag: jflag equal to 0 or 1 means that forces and moments are reported at the I or J marker, respectively.
comp: 1 - returns the force magnitude.
2 - returns the force x component.
3 - returns the force y component.
4 - returns the force z component.
5 - returns the torque magnitude.
6 - returns the torque x component.
7 - returns the torque y component.
8 - returns the torque z component.

RM: The reference frame in which the components are reported; RM=0 implies the global frame.
Here we will request for the torque component around the Y axis, marker I


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

activate the tab: Properties, and select the idstring of the previously defined Motion.

Delete the other brackets as shown in the image.

Enter 0,7,0 following the comma.

(The first 0 represents the jflag and in this case the forces and moments are reported to the I marker. The 7 returns the torque
component around the Y axis. The second 0 implies the Global Reference Frame)
The expression should appear as `MOTION({mot_1.idstring},0,7,0)`

Save the model, run the analysis and view the motion of the body with HyperGraph.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Activate the Statistic

icon, and click on

to open the Statistics window.

The maximum torque for the analysis is 136.96 N mm.


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Example: Adding Torques To The Four-Bar Mechanism

In this exercise, you will add a driving torque and a torque to limit the motion of a joint to the four-bar mechanism you have built
in previous chapters. You will also compare the results of a kinematic simulation to dynamic simulation to help illustrate their
Build Up A Trunk Lid Mechanism

Four-Bar Mechanism Attached To The Trunk Lid

Closer View Of The Four-Bar Mechanism

Schematic Diagram Of The Four-Bar Mechanism

Add the following points to the existing model:


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

We are using the following files in this chapter:

motion_curve.csv,,, chapter9_exercise_start.mdl

Add new cylinder graphics with radius 2 from (each new graphic is connected to the Parent Body: Body 1)
E to G
G to H
H to I
Move the CM of Body 1 from Point 4 to Point G.

Specify a Motion
with the definition Curve and read in
the corresponding data from within the Curve panel (here the
curve data are provided).
However, before a curve can be referenced inside the Motion panel, the
curve must be defined

Activate the curve panel

Click on

in the lower part of the panel


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

In the Motion

panel the Curve needs to be connected to the Revolution Joint 3 (see image above)

Rename the bodies (see Schematic Diagram Of The Four-Bar Mechanism)

Free Body > Follower
Body 0 > Coupler
Body 1 > Input

Create outputs
a. Create a Displacement output between Body 1: Input and Body 2: Ground Body.
For Pt on Body 1: Point I and Pt on Body 2: Global Origin point,
Record the displacement on Both points, one relative to the other.

b. Displacement (x-direction) of a particular point G on the input link relative to the global frame (we need to build
an Expression); In other words, calculate the X displacement between the markers at the Global Origin and the CM
point of input link:


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

To learn more about the Syntax to be used in this Expression, see the Help Documentation --Solver--Motionsolve--DX:
DX(I, J, K)
The DX function computes the X-component of the relative translational displacement of marker I with respect to marker
J, as resolved in the coordinate system of marker K. The first argument, marker I, must be specified. The second and third
arguments, markers J and K, are optional.

In the Expression Builder we need to activate Motion > DX

then Properties > Bodies/Ground Body/CM > idstring, then comma separated Properties > Bodies/Input/Marker/CM > idstring

Check the mode for any errors (Tools -- Check Model), then save the model.
Add external graphics and convert a HyperMesh file to an H3D file (here and
File menu > Import > Geometry > Import CAD or Finite Element Model Only

Connect the new graphics to the Body Input and Body Ground


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

Save the model


: perform a kinematic simulation of the mechanism for a simulation time of 4 seconds, with a Print Interval of 0.01.

Review the results in HyperView and HyperGraph

In the HyperGraph plot the magnitude of the displacement of point I relative to the Global Origin is displayed..


MotionView / MotionSolve Fundamentals

In the video series below you will learn how to set-up and run a Mass-Spring System (the video series was originally created by our
colleagues in Korea and then translated into an English version by Prakash Pagadala).

Part I; 7:12 minutes;

Part II; 7:11 minutes;

Part III; 7:22 minutes;

Part IV; 5:30 minutes;

Part V; 6:12 minutes;


Modeling Simulation Tips

Modeling and Simulation Tips

Rule of Thumb: You need to know what you want to do. In other words: Think first, then Click.
Ask questions, i.e. your colleagues may know something which would help you to make the next step(s) faster.
Dont try to re-event the wheel again (be efficient). There are other problems and challenges waiting for you to be solved.
Explain others your process & workflow. While explaining technical
content you learn a lot yourself.
Take & make notes about your finding/understanding.
Before starting using the software, sketch the model, the used joints
& constraints etc. (see rule of thumb from above)
Mind the physical units to be used e.g. mm, kg, s, N (also take care
while converting units!)
Note that gravity (by default) is in negative z-direction, check its units.
Checklist Workflow (overview)
Define Points
Create Bodies
Assign graphics to the Bodies
Specify Joints (recall Grueblers equation)
Define springs, dampers forces, torques, contacts
Define Motions (if needed)
Specify Output requests
Save the model repeatedly (*mbl format) and Session
Note: The above list is by far not complete, however, it should give you a kind of first orientation. Please add your recommendations
and experiences here - we would be pleased to update this list based on your feedback.

This summary below is based on the HyperWorks Help Documentation and contains some general guidelines to follow when
building MotionSolve models. Some of these tips may appear too advanced for the time being. However, we are quite sure that
it will be of help later.
General Guidelines
Start with a very simple model and add complexity step-by-step.
Run your model at each step and check whether the results make sense. Do not wait to finish the entire model before
running. Debugging complex models is usually a very difficult task.


Modeling Simulation Tips

Modeling Rigid Parts

Avoid using physically unrealistic masses and inertias for the bodies in your models. For instance, the following properties
are common defaults for mass and inertia:

Assuming a spherically shaped body, this mass and inertia implies a density of about 7,000 times that of steel, which is
physically unrealistic. It usually slows down the solver and may even lead to simulation failure. A much better default would

Use the Point_Mass element where applicable to reduce the degrees of freedom in your model. This element adds only
three degrees of freedom to your model, whereas the rigid body element adds six degrees of freedom.
It is OK to use a dummy body with zero mass when the body is attached to another rigid and/or flexible body by a fixed

Modeling Force Elements

Avoid using undamped bushings and springs. They are physically unrealistic. Undamped bushings and springs cause the
solver to slow down by requiring it to track small, undamped oscillations which do not dissipate. Such oscillations are often
not of interest in a simulation. Consider adding a small damping to all bushings and springs. A good starting point is 1% of
the stiffness value. In many cases, such small damping is sufficient to speed up the simulation.
Avoid using the impact function with zero damping for the same reason as above.
Avoid discontinuous forces defined using the IF-function. Discontinuities may cause integrator failure. If you must use
such elements, try reducing the maximum step size (H_MAX) integrator parameter in case of simulation failure.
Bushing elements are allowed to have large, angular deflections only about one axis of rotation. When they have large
angular deflections about more than one axis, the results may be incorrect.
Modeling Constraints
Avoid Redundant Constraints
Use joint primitives to precisely impose only the necessary constraints and avoid introducing redundant ones. This may
require much thought in case of complex mechanisms.
If the above step is not feasible, then consider using flexible bodies. Flexible bodies add degrees of freedom to your
model and reduce the likelihood of a redundant constraint. They may also provide more accurate results.

Defining Motion Constraints in Dynamic Simulation Models

1. Differentiation tends to amplify any noise in the input signal. It is therefore important to ensure that all expressions and
experimental data provided as input be smooth and twice differentiable. Avoid the AKIMA() interpolation method when
interpolating through experimental data. AKIMA() does not calculate good first and second derivatives. Use CUBSPL()


Modeling Simulation Tips

2. Integration tends to decrease the noise in an input signal. Therefore, it is a good idea to use velocity inputs when
providing interpolated experimental or tabular data as motion input expressions.
3. Define your curve with as few points as possible. An excessively large number of interpolation points in a cubic curve
make the first derivative jumpy, and the second derivative extremely jumpy, even though the curve itself may look
4. Make sure that the initial velocity of the motion matches the initial velocities of the bodies that it affects. For example,
if your mechanism simulation starts from an initial static state, then you should make sure that the input motion has zero
initial velocity. The motion input overrides the body initial velocities, if they are in conflict.
5. If you decide to use velocity inputs, be aware that the position is satisfied only to the integration error specified in
PARAM_TRANSIENT. Likewise, for acceleration inputs, the velocity and position are only satisfied to the integration error
specified. Therefore, you may see some drift from the analytical solution. This is a limitation of any scheme based on
numerical integration.
6. It is useful to view the reaction force/torque time histories due to the motion constraint. It tells you how much force/
torque is needed to achieve the given motion. You can decide whether or not this is realistic. Furthermore, it sometimes
makes better physical sense to replace the motion with applied forces coupled with control laws. Remember that motion in
a dynamic analysis is treated as a hard constraint with no room for compliance.
7. Motions may only be functions of time. The current implementation does not allow it to be a function of other system
displacements, velocities, accelerations, reaction forces, and applied forces.

Modeling Contact Forces

MotionSolve Contact Capabilities
The contact force model is based on penalty formulation. It is similar to the impact function based contact force model
available in ADAMS. Although it is called Poisson in MotionSolve, its implementation does not resemble the Poisson
approach in the ADAMS solver.
Both intermittent and persistent contact, including colliding, sliding, rolling, and spinning contact, are supported.
Friction is supported.
Multiple contacts are also supported. Contact can occur at multiple points, or vertices, and/or edges or facets on the
same object.
Arbitrary contact surfaces may be defined used an arbitrary collection of polygons.

The contact surface may be completely general. MotionSolve does not assume concavity, continuity, or any other limitation
on surface curvature or connectivity.

Contact Modeling Tips

Start your modeling with Contact friction set to Off.
Some experimentation is usually required with values of penalty and coefficient of restitution to get a realistic and stable
The contact friction force parameters mu_static, mu_dynamic, and stiction_trans_vel often have a strong effect on the
contact behavior as well as the simulation speed. Some tuning is often necessary to get realistic and stable results.
If the addition of frictional forces causes numerical difficulties or simulation slowdowns, gradually increase the values for
the transition velocities and reduce the coefficients of friction.


Modeling Simulation Tips

The current implementation for contact has difficulty when the penetration surface encounters edges. There is a
discontinuous jump in the contact normal resulting in a spike in the contact forces. It may be helpful to smooth out the
edges on the rigid body geometry. If this is not possible, consider extending the contact geometry such that an edge is not
encountered in the rigid-rigid contact.
Contact between non-surface objects is not supported. For example, curves, lines, and points.
The table below shows some commonly encountered simulation problems and their solutions.

Modeling Flexible Bodies

Avoid selecting interface nodes that are too close together. This increases the likelihood that modes may be almost
linearly dependent, which causes difficulty in the solution.
Interpret flexbody damping carefully. The modal damping ratio is applied to component modes that, in general, do not
correspond to the physical vibration modes of your component.
Verify flexible bodies before using them to ensure that the proper number of fixed interface eigenmodes have been

A fine mesh is usually not necessary for component mode synthesis as only a few fixed interface eigenmodes are needed.
Most often people use too fine a mesh, rather than too coarse.
Use the full set of component modes in a multi-body simulation. Avoid deactivating some of them to gain computational
speed. This may cause integration failure in some cases. You may release some of the nodal degrees of freedom to reduce
the set of models. See the ASET topic in the OptiStruct on-line help.
OptiStruct provides several options to reduce the size of the H3D file without sacrificing accuracy. See the tutorial
Generating a Flexible Body for use in Altair MotionSolve - OS-1930 in the OptiStruct Tutorials on-line help.

Tuning Solver Parameters

In general, the dynamic simulation results in MotionSolve do not depend on the print interval. However, if a print interval
smaller than the time step is specified, MotionSolve changes the time step to be equal to the print interval. However, the
quasi-static and kinematic simulation results are strongly affected by the print interval, which equals the step size in these

Modeling Simulation Tips

cases. Too large of a value for this parameter may lead to simulation failure.
Typically, the stability of a MotionSolve dynamic simulation improves as the error tolerance and H_MAX parameters are
reduced. However, the run time may increase.


Spring-Mass System

Tutorial: Spring-Mass Damping

Written by Prakash Pagadala and Matthias Goelke

Now it is time to employ some of the previously described methods. Even though a Spring-Mass system is rather simple it allows
you to better understand the entire simulation process, starting with model building and ending with results visualization.

In this tutorial we will model and investigate a spring and mass system:
with a predefined extension/elongation of the spring without & with damping
with gravity (no predefined elongation of the spring) and damping.


Modeling In MotionView

Create Points
Before creating points make sure you have set the units (m, kg, N, sec). Next, create two points spring_point and mass_point with
co-ordinates (0, 0, 0) and (0, 0,-2) respectively.
Create Bodies
For this system we need only one body. Using body panel create a body (with name say mass) and assign a mass of 10 Kgs to the
body. Place the body at mass_point.


Spring-Mass System

Create Graphics
As the graphics are not really important in this case, create a sphere with any dimension (in this example the spheres radius is
0.2 m) using Graphics panel and attach the sphere to the body which we have created in the before step.

Create Spring Damper

Lets go ahead and create a spring between the mass and ground body (assuming the mass is attached to ground via spring).
Like points, bodies, etc. you can add SpringDamper in two ways:
1. Right click in on Model in Project browser-->Add-->Force Entity-->SpringDamper
2. Right click on SpringDamper icon available from Force Entity toolbar

Connect the SpringDamper to Ground body and mass within the SpringDamper panel as shown below:

When you are in the same panel, go to Properties to provide the stiffness (and later damping coefficient) for the spring:

Use a spring stiffness of 250 N/m.


Spring-Mass System

Create Translation Joint

We have to constraint the mass to move only in Z direction. For this use Translation Joint and allow the mass to move only in the
Z direction.

Note: A Displacement Initial condition on a Translational Joint is not supported by MotionSolve 12.0. In other words, it is not
possible to define an initial stretching/compression of the spring as an initial condition in the Joints panel directly.

You may model an elongated/stretched or compressed mass-spring system by specifying its Free Length in the Spring-Preload

The free length corresponds to the length of the unloaded spring. Here, the free length is set to 1.4 m. As the point of the mass is
located at z=-2 m the spring is initially extended by 0.6 m.
Create Output
Create an output request for displacement

However, before we start the simulation run, we need to assign (for postprocessing purposes in HyperView) an implicit graphics
to the spring.
Attach a graphics to the Spring


Spring-Mass System

with the graphic properties as shown.

Cross-check the model and make sure that Gravity is deactivated (in the Forms panel).

Save the model as an mdl file next.

Run Analysis
Go to the Run panel, save the model (xml file), use Simulation Parameters to define the End time of this analysis (10 sec), and the
Print interval 0.01. Then hit the Run button.
The oscillation (free, undamped) of the spring-mass system can be viewed in HyperGraph. From the graph below it is apparent
that the system oscillates with a magnitude of 0.6 m with respect to the unloaded postion of the mass at -1.4 m (see Free Length
definition of the spring)


Spring-Mass System

You may also view the animation in HyperView (using the *.h3d file) of course.
Lets have a look at some fundamentals of the free & undamped mass-spring system:

Plotting the analytical and simulation results in the same graph


Spring-Mass System

In the above graph the mass oscillates with an amplitude of 0.6 m which corresponds to the initial elongation of the spring. The
free length of the spring, i.e. the unloaded spring is 1.4 m long.

To better visualize the amplitude of the oscillation the graph may be shifted inside HyperGraph
Expression in the Output

or we define a respective


Note: Learn more about Expressions by viewing the HyperWorks Help documentation > HyperWorks Solvers; then activate the
tab Index and search for the expression, for instance for Dz
This should prompt the following information:
DZ(I, J, K)
The DZ function computes the Z-component of the relative translational displacement of marker I with respect to marker J, as
resolved in the coordinate system of marker K. The first argument, marker I, must be specified, whereas the second and third
arguments, markers J and K, are optional.

= bush-disp
= 70000040






= DX(30301010,30301011,30301011)


= DY(30301010,30301011,30301011)


= DZ(30301010,30301011,30301011)









I The marker whose displacement is to be computed.
J The marker with respect to which the displacement is to be computed. This argument is optional. If omitted, it defaults to
the ground coordinate system.
K The resultant displacement vector is resolved in the coordinate system of the K marker. This argument is optional. If omitted,
it defaults to the ground coordinate system.


Spring-Mass System

In the Output panel the expression may be defined as:

Here we look for the z-displacement of the mass (its CM) and the Ground (also CM). By adding 1.4 we subtract the length of the
spring to visualize the amplitude only.
The first expression of Dz is defined via the CM of the Mass

The second expression is defined via the CM of the Ground Body.


Spring-Mass System

Free And Damped Mass-Spring System

Now, go back to MotionView and change the damping coefficient in SpringDamper panel to b= 80 kg s-1 (d = 4 s-1) and run the
analysis again. We keep the initial elongation of the spring (-0.6 m).

From the above graphs you can see how damping influences the system behaviour. The mass bounces back (damped) from its
starting location at z=-2 m to its neutral position at z=-1.4 m.
As in the undamped example before, we now offset the graph (by +1.4 m) to better visualize the amplitude of the oscillation.


Spring-Mass System

In the graph below the time displayed along the x-axis ends at 3 seconds

Quite obviously, as damping increases, the amplitude of the system decreases.

Some fundamentals of the free & damped mass-spring system are depicted below:


Spring-Mass System

Free Damped Mass-Spring System Subjected To Gravity

In the following exercise the same Spring--Mass system gravity will be turned on, while initial pre-extension of the spring will be
set to zero, i.e. the mass will start from its initial position at z=-1.4 m. The system is in balance once the mass reaches z=-1.8 m.

We define an output request with respect to the force acting on the spring


Spring-Mass System

In the graph below the force vs. time (up to 3 seconds) is plotted. The force converges at 98.1 N (mass 10 kg) with a peak value of
-115.737 N at t=0.43 seconds (Note: A positive spring force acts to repel the bodies, while a negative spring force acts to attract
the bodies).

In the following we try to limit the oscilliation of the system by applying a Preload on the spring. Here we apply a force of, for
instance -90 N.

As one expects, the preloaded spring becomes less elongated (peak value z=-143 m), while the peak force reaches a value of
-99.5 N.


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Tutorial: The Slider Crank Mechanism

Multi-Body Simulation With MotionView / MotionSolve 12.0
written by Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Markus Kriesch and Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Andr Wehr, Germany

Note: Some MBD fundamentals described in the tutorial are mentioned in other chapters too. Nevertheless, we deliberately kept
these redundant paragraphs in here, as it gives you the opportunity to cross-check what you have learned so far.
Overall, please note that the model and assumptions made are conceptual!


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)


Multi-Body simulation (MBS) is a branch of mechanics. It solves three fundamentally different problems:

Kinematics, where the geometrical processes of the motion and the deviated factors, like velocity and acceleration, are
analyzed, and,

Dynamics, which is the study of motion due to applied forces and motions acting on the system. Dynamics in turn can be
subdivided into statics and kinetics.
Figure 1 below shows this classification of multi-body simulation.

Figure 1: Boundary Of Multi-Body Dynamics Within The Mechanics

While many of the mathematical principles of kinematics and dynamics were developed between the 16th and 18th century, multibody simulation was first applied in aeronautics only as recently as 1960. There was a simple reason: Trial and error under real
operating conditions was simply impossible.
Besides the mechanical engineering and the aeronautics sectors, MBD-simulation is widely used in diverse areas like automotive,
sports and medicine. Today, due to the widespread of CAE tools, MBD is used in virtually every industry sector.
Figure 2, below, shows some typical applications
in a few select industries.

Figure 2: Application Ranges Of Multi-Body Dynamics [5]

Today, industry is required to have an efficient

product development cycle. Conventional static

Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

FE analysis is not adequate, especially for systems that move. One needs to understand the behavior of the motion in order to
improve its behavior. [1]
The objective of multi-body simulation is to replace costly physical experiments with virtual experiments and get a better
understanding of product behavior. The trend today is to solve multi-disciplinary problems each discipline has its own set of
governing equations. Design optimization can start with multi-body simulation is shown in Fig. 03 with the arm of a construction
machine and end with a finite element analysis for stresses or fatigue. [2]

Figure 3: Multi-Disciplinary Simulation Of A Construction Machine

The Austrian Federal Railways (OBB) commissioned an investigation to understand how the number of wagons in a train influences
the forces on a buffer when the engine crashes into it. A multi-body simulation was used to replace the complex and cost intensive
physical tests. [3]

Figure 4: Schematic Diagram Of The Experiment

The simulations showed that the intuitive rule of thumb the longer the train, the greater the forces leads to totally wrong results.

Figure 5: Evaluation Of The Simulation Results [3]

The simulations showed that the maximal forces are behind wagon four and the forces at the buffer are independent of the length
of the train. This result cannot be predicted analytically. It also shows convincingly that complex motion processes can be easily
understood by using a numerical simulation. [3]

Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Underlying Principles
As mentioned before, the motion of a body is defined by its kinematic or dynamic behavior. A system, all of whose degrees
of freedom are constrained by connections or motions, is referred to as a kinematic model. Dynamic behavior of a system is
characterized in a way that the motion is a result of the applied force. [2]
The theory of the multi-body simulation is based on the three laws of motion of Isaac Newton:
1. Law Of Inertia: A body remains in a state of rest or of uniform movement as long as no external force is applied to it.
2. Principle Of Action: The change of motion is proportional to the effect of the moving force and happens in the direction of
that straight line of this force.

F = ma

[F = force, m=mass, a=acceleration]


[ = velocity]


[ = displacement]



3. Principle Of Reaction: Forces always appear in pairs. If a body A exerts a force onto a body B (action), then there acts an
equal and opposite reaction force from body B onto body A (reaction). [7]

Generally, models are built in a graphical pre-processor. The preprocessor sends the model to a solver, which develops the
underlying equations of motion and solves these numerically. [1]

The basic form of the differential equation is [1]:



= mass

= damping coefficient

= stiffness

= acceleration, velocity, displacement


= external force

To solve the equation of motion the following numerical solution methods are commonly used:
One-step procedure

(Euler, Runge-Kutta)

Multi-step procedure


Stiff method



Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

The definition of the degrees of freedom of a system is the number of independent ways it can move. Every rigid body has six
degrees of freedom. Joints and motions constrain (remove) degrees of freedom.

A systems number of degrees of freedom can be defined by the Grbler equation [1]:


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

MotionView / MotionSolve
The Altair HyperWorks product MotionView offers the option to create and modify multi-body systems graphically. MotionSolve is
the solver. It calculates the motion of the system provided to it by MotionView. Both MotionView and MotionSolve support flexible
bodies these bodies are not rigid; they deform while undergoing motion. Thus it is possible to validate the behavior of complex
systems. MotionView / MotionSolve offers the following analysis types [4]:

Figure 6: Analysis Types With MotionView / MotionSolve

Dynamic Analysis
The dynamic analysis is typically the most complex and the most CPU-intensive type of simulation. This type of analysis has one or
more degrees of freedom and is used for large motions, as well as, for motion and loading studies in a broad range of applications.
Kinematic Analysis
A multiple-body model without degrees of freedom is defined as kinematic. Position, velocity and accelerations can be computed
algebraically from the system constraints. Motion is independent of forces. If system mass and inertia are also defined, MotionSolve
can compute, algebraically, the joint reaction forces required to support the applied motions. Since only algebraic equations are
solved, solutions are very fast and accurate. Kinematic analysis is widely used in the field of robotics to understand how they move.
Quasi-Static Analysis
This type of analysis physically describes a system that moves extremely slowly. The transience introduced by the slow motion
input is not of interest. From a mathematical point of view the quasi-static simulation is a sequence of static simulations in a
specified time. Starting with an initial description the system, equilibrium configurations are calculated at each point in time. The
application areas range from suspension design to stability analysis (tilting table) and stationary analysis.
Linear Analysis
MotionSolve can also perform linear analysis. The solver linearizes the model at an operation point to generate the mass, damping
and stiffness matrices. Subsequently it performs an eigenvalue analysis to calculate the system natural frequencies and vibration
mode shapes. Linear analysis in multi-body simulations often provides insight into the system stability. A negative modal damping
is an indication of an unstable system.


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

The simulation process with MotionSolve/MotionView and HyperWorks is summarized in the following figure. [4]

Figure 7: Multi-Body Simulation Process

MotionView also provides FlexPrep, a tool that allows you to import flexible bodies into a system description. The flexible body is
created with a finite element representation. Flexible bodies in MotionView are required to show linear deformation behaviorthus
they must be isotropic and be limited to small deformations.


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

A system composed of both rigid and flexible bodies is called a hybrid multi-body system. Such systems are created to closely
mimic the physical system being analyzed. Hybrid multi-body systems encourage a crawl-walk-run approach to model building.
A completely rigid body model is first built and analyzed. When this is validated, one or more rigid bodies are converted to being
flexible and the analysis redone. Flexible bodies in MotionView/MotionSolve represent deformations in the modal domain.
Component mode synthesis is commonly used to create such representations. The number of modes used in flexible body is
governed by the frequency of the phenomenon being studied. [6]

MotionSolve supports a wide variety of modeling elements this enables you to create an almost infinite variety of mechanical or
mechatronic systems. The most common modeling elements are summarized in the following figure.

Figure 8: Modeling Elements In MotionView / MotionSolve


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Now, let us build the model in MotionView.

Preprocessing Using Rigid Bodies
Step 1: Import geometry
After launching MotionView, the geometry of a crank mechanism is first imported. For the purposes of this example, assume that
the geometry of a single body has already been defined in HyperMesh.

Figure 9: Import Geometry

The yellow and black icon is used to create bodies. Geometry can be associated with these bodies.
The import-menu at Import Options allows you to import geometry. This causes the dialog shown below to pop-up. The HyperMesh
Input File is selected.

Figure 10: Import CAD Or FE. Note, That The Output Graphic File (h3d file) Will Be Created During The Import.


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

After clicking OK the geometry data in the HyperMesh-file is imported. Before finishing the import the system Units are defined. In
this tutorial the previous input length Millimeter shall be used.

Figure 11: Import CAD. Dont Miss To Define The Input File Length

After the import one can see the added bodies, graphics as well as centers of gravity (CG) of the bodies within the model tree in
the column Project on the left.

Figure 12: Imported Geometry


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Step 2: Create Points

Points are used to define locations of interest in the geometry. These are similar to interface nodes in finite elements. Click on
the Point icon shown below.

This will launch the Add Point or PointPair dialog. In the Points dialog, shown below, a Label for the point should be provided.
Furthermore a type has to be chosen as well, and in this case (tutorial) it is Single. For symmetric systems a point Pair can be
Note: In here we adopt the syntax that the Variable
definition is p_Label.
For, instance, Label: UDC_piston;

Variable: p_UDC_piston

Figure 13: Create Points

A point is created when the OK button is pressed. At this point a Points panel appears at the bottom of the screen, as shown in the
figure below. You can specify various attributes for each point; the most important of these is it location (x-, y- and z-coordinate).

Figure 14: Define Coordinates Of Points

For the simulation you will need to create the following four (4) points:


Table 1: Coordinates Of Points




Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Step 3: Create Joints

After creating the points, joints connecting the various bodies, will be created. In the toolbar click on the Joints icon.

This will cause the Add Joint or JointPair dialog to pop-up. As with Points, specify a label for each joint you will create.

Figure 15: Create Joints

Clicking OK in this dialog will create the joint. The joints panel will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. You now have to
complete the joint definition by specifying (A) The bodies it connects (Body 1 and Body 2), the type of the joint, its location of the
joint (Origin) and orientation (Alignment axis). See the figure below.

Clicking on the yellow buttons labeled Body1 or Body2, pops yet another dialog containing all the bodies that are currently defined
in the system. You can select the body you want from this dialog. See the figure below.


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Figure 16: Define Joint Connectivity

Similar to the first assigned body, the steps of Figure 16 are executed for the second body, the origin, and for the Alignment axis.
For the simulation the following joints shall be created:

Body 1

Body 2




ground body
ground body

piston CG

Global Z
Global X
Global X
Global X

Table 2: Joints for crank mechanism. Recall: The Inline Joint is a joint primitive that requires that a point on Body 1 (Origin 1) translate along the axis represented
by the line connecting Origin 1 and Origin 2. All rotations are allowed.

Step 4: Create A Motion

Now a motion shall be applied to the model. In this tutorial the motion is applied to the revolute joint between crankshaft and
ground body in order to use the engine rotational speed as possible regulating variable. Click on the Motion icon to pop-up the
Add Motion or MotionPair dialog. See figure below.

Provide a brief description in the Label field, and select Type Single for the joint to be created. Pressing OK causes a Motion to
be created. See figure below.


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Figure 17: Create Motion

After creating the Motion, its properties need to be defined in the panel at the bottom of the screen. The Connectivity and the
Type, and Value of the motion are to be defined. For the rotational velocity for this example is 6000 rpm. Value is therefore
2**6000/60 radians/sec = 2*Pi*100 radians/sec. See figure below.

Figure 18: Define Motion

Step 5: Create a Marker

A Marker is to be added for output purposes. To use the reference point Upper Dead Center (UDC) of the piston later, the Marker
shall be created exactly at UDC. Click on the Marker icon in the toolbar to launch the Add Marker or MarkerPair dialog. See figure

As before the Label is specified and the Type: Single is selected. See figure below.


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Figure19: Create Marker

To define the Marker further, as Parent, the piston should be chosen and as an Origin the point UDC_piston, which was created
before, shall be used. You have additional options to specify the orientation of the Marker.

Figure 20: Define Marker

Step 6: Create Outputs

In this step the outputs, which should be evaluated, shall be created and defined using the Marker that was created in Step 5. We
are interested in the displacement, velocity and the acceleration of the piston as calculated in the coordinate system of Marker_
UDC_piston. So we will create these outputs.

Click on the Output icon shown below.


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

This will cause the Add Output dialog to pop-up. As with all other entities, specify a descriptive name in the label field.

Figure 21: Create Output

Clicking OK creates the output and the Output panel shows up at the bottom of the screen.

Four attributes are to be specified for each output:

The output type valid types are displacement, velocity, acceleration and force

The two bodies between which the output is desired

The points on each body

The coordinate system in which the results are calculated

The Output panel allows you specify these. See figure below.

Figure 22: Define Marker


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Piston_velocity and Piston_acceleration shall be created with the same Bodies, Points on the Bodies and the Reference
Marker. The only modification is the type of the output within the dropdown menu (Fig. 22, # 1) by using Velocity and Acceleration

Hint: As an alternative to the creation of three outputs, subsequent post-processing allows you to manually calculate the velocity
and the acceleration by differentiation of the displacement outputs. With this approach only the output for the displacement is

Step 7: Set The Simulation Parameters

In this step the MotionSolve run file and the Simulation Parameters are defined. Click on the Run icon in the toolbar. The Run
Panel is displayed at the bottom of the screen. See figure below.

Select the Main tab, and click on the Folder icon next to Save as.

This will launch the file dialog as shown below. Choose the correct folder to save your results, and click OK as shown below.


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Figure 23: Set Simulation Parameters

Finally specify the end time and print interval. We will choose a Print Interval of 0.0001s. 100 output steps (0.01/0.0001) are
generated in the simulation
Step 8: Check The Model
The model is now complete, and the next step is to check the model to make sure there are no errors. The model checker can be
found in menu at Tools > Check Model. See figure below.

Selecting Check Model launches the Check Model window. MotionView will tell you some of the properties of the system you have
defined. See figure below.


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Figure 24: Check Model

Note: To see the Check Model summary as above you may first need to define the kind of model check to be pursued. Go to: Tools
> Options > Check Model to configure the check model
It can be shown that the system had 18 degrees of freedom at the beginning, 17 of which were removed by joints and one by the
rotational motion. Hence, according to the Grbler equation (Chapter 1.2) and consistent with MotionView calculations, the system
has zero degrees of freedom. You have just created a kinematic model.
If one discovers that the sum of the DOF is negative during the model check, the chosen joints will have to be checked again and to
be modified. A negative count for DOF implies that some of the constraints are redundant. MotionSolve will release the necessary
constraints to obtain a determinate system. However, this may not be what you want.

Solver Run
The model is now ready for simulation. Click Run in the run panel. See figure below.

The solver run is initiated and the Solver window, shown below, appears. All Solver output is seen in real time in this window. Do
not worry if the data scrolls by too quickly. You can always look at the solver log file more leisurely, using the editor of your choice.

Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Figure 25: Run Solver

Postprocessors are used to create plots of outputs that were created or to see the animation. The post-processing can be started
either by clicking the buttons Animate and Plot in the Run panel, or by adding a further page where the results are manually
When you click on Animate, a second page is added. This page contains four windows. One window shall be used for the HyperView
display and the other three for HyperGraph.
In HyperView the results file (h3d) is opened and by using the Start/Pause-Button the animation can be checked.

Figure 26: Post-Processing - HyperView


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Results may be plotted in HyperGraph. The HyperGraph windows can plot the displacement, velocity and acceleration outputs
versus the rotation angle, Phi [deg].

One possible way to prepare the results in HyperGraph is shown below. This is a two-step process.
Click on the Define Curves toolbar
Click on the Add button to add curves
Specify the X axis of the plot: abf-result file Time
Specify the Y axis of the plot: Select Math radio button and define y = x

Figure 27a: Post-Processing HyperGraph Define Curves Panel

Now turn off Curve 1 in the Plot Manager. Create a second curve, Curve2 as shown below.
Specify the X axis of the plot: Math = [Y-value of Curve 1]*36000
Specify the Y axis of the plot: abf-result DZ_piston_displacement_with_respect_to_ground

Figure 27b: Post-Processing HyperGraph Define Curves Panel

Now change the Axis Scale (0 to 360) and Text adjust manually (Figure 28)

Figure 28: Post-Processing HyperGraph Set Axis


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

You can follow the same process for plotting velocity and acceleration results. Once all the plots are inserted, your screen should
look like the screen shot below.

Figure 29: Post-Processing Results

Piston distance to upper dead center (UDC)


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

The detailed calculation (editable) is in the Excel sheet below.

Figure 30: Validation Excel Calculation

Figure 31: Validation Analytical (Left) Vs. MBD-Simulation (right)


Slider Crank Mechanism (Rigid)

Hint: If one wants to get into the process in any position and load an existing model, then it is possible because of user-based
file movements that the graphic output file cannot be found. Thus the bodies have to be
assigned manually to this file again.
This procedure shall be shown for the crank-shaft model.

Figure 32: Load Model Graphics Missing

Clicking on Graphics > Crankshaft shows, that

the Graphical source is missing. Then one should
reference as in Figure 33 shown the needed
graphic for every single body by using the defined
Output Graphic File.

Figure 33: Re-Organizing Graphical Source


Flexible Bodies

Introduction In Flexible Bodies

This chapter introduces:

Advantages of simulating with flexible bodies

How flexible bodies are created

FlexPrep tool in MotionView for


generating flexible bodies

converting flexible bodies to other file types

Animating flexible body modes in HyperView

Swapping a flexible body for a rigid body

Methods to reduce flexible body h3d file size

Quasi-static analysis in MotionSolve


Why Flexible Bodies?

A traditional multi-body dynamic (MBD) analysis involves the simulation of a rigid body system under the application of forces
and/or motions. In some cases, the flexibility of a body has a significant effect on the results of a simulation. Rigid body
simulations do not capture such deformations and this may lead to inaccurate results. Inclusion of flexible bodies in MBD
simulations accounts for flexibility.
Simulation of flexible bodies in an MBD system has the following benefits:

Captures body deformation

Increases accuracy in load predictions

Determines the stress and/or strain distribution in a body

Helps generate loads needed for fatigue analysis

However, flexible bodies introduce an additional set of equations in the system, and consequently, have a higher computational
cost as compared to rigid body systems.


What Is A Flexible Body?

Finite Element models have very high number of degrees of freedom. It is difficult for MBD solvers to handle these.

Flexible body is a modal (linear) representation of FE model. The FE model is reduced to very few modal degrees of
freedom via Component Mode Synthesis by the FE solver (OptiSruct)
The user must choose the interface nodes which are the connection points to the flexible body (e.g., bushings, joints,
forces, etc).
These nodes must be independent nodes
Center of RBE2 spider, for example
These are the only locations you can connect to the flexible body.

A linear analysis in the FE solver will generate mode shapes based on the interface nodes

Flexible Bodies

During the MotionSolve simulation, the (physical) displacement of the interface nodes is represented as linear combination of
the modal coordinates (i.e., participation factors).


Nodal displacement vector where the forces are transmitted to the flexible body at the interface nodes.

Modal matrix of mode shapes as calculated by OptiStruct.

Matrix of modal participation factors or modal coordinates that is determined during the MBD analysis.

Note: Since the results are based on linear solution, the deformation must also be in the linear range. This is geometry
dependent, but a rule of thumb is ~10% deformation compared to the characteristic length.
Use flexible body sub-structuring to model geometric non-linearity. For example, break up a single flexible body into multiple
flexible bodies connected by joints and/or bushings to model non-linear behavior.
Example: (long) wind turbine rotor blade.
The way MotionSolve determines the deformation of a flexible body to an applied load is similar to the Fourier series analysis
for periodic functions: any periodic wave can be estimated by the sum of sine and cosine functions of varying frequencies
multiplied by coefficients as shown in the figure below. Likewise, the MBD solver will calculate the coefficients for the various
deflection modes calculated in the CMS method which when added together produce the deformed shape.
square wave sawtooth wave

triangle wave semicircle


Component Mode Synthesis CMS Methods

There are two CMS methods supported in Optistruct that will reduce the FE model to a set of orthogonal mode shapes.

Craig-Bampton In this method, two sets of modes are computed:


Flexible Bodies

- the fixed interface constraint static modes are calculated by applying a unit displacement at each interface node in
each degree of freedom individually while leaving all the other constraints active.
- the fixed interface eigen modes are calculated with all the interface nodes constrained (# of modes is specified by
the user)
Finally, the both sets of are orthogonalized producing the modal matrix of modes shapes that represent flexible body.

Craig-Chang In this method, two sets of modes are also computed:

- the inertia-relief attachment static modes are computed by applying a unit displacement on each interface node in
each degree of freedom individually while all the other interface nodes are free. When calculating the static modes
the model is mathematically constrained by inertia, hence inertia-relief, to produce structural deformations required
for calculating the mode shapes.
- the free-free eigen modes are computed (i.e., without any constraints on the body)

Again, both sets of modes are orthogonalized producing the producing the modal matrix of modes shapes that represent
flexible body.


How To Choose The CMS Method?

Craig-Bampton - best when most of the degrees of freedom of the interface node are constrained by the MBD model.
Craig-Chang - best when most of the degrees of freedom of the interface nodes are not constrained in many degrees of
freedom by the MBD model.

Further Details on the CB, C-C CMS Methods

Craig-Bampton and Craig-Chang modes are not the same modes as calculated using conventional normal modes analysis.
They may look similar, but strictly speaking will not compare exactly with a normal modes analysis.
The number of modes generated to represent the flexible body is equal to:
number of degrees of freedom restricted for each interface node (static modes) +
the number of fixed interface or free-free eigen modes (user requested)
For example: 4 interface nodes * 6 modes/node + 10 fixed interface or free-free eigen requested modes = 34 modes
calculated by OptiStruct.
Note: The default number of restricted degrees of freedom for each interface node is 6 DOF (fixed joint) in FlexPrep, but can be
edited manually in the preparation file
As the number of fixed interface or free-free eigen modes calculated increases so does the accuracy of the solution and the two
methods describe above converge. The number of fixed interface or free-free eigen modes to use as well as which method to
use it dependent of the problem at hand, and the determination of what works best for a give problem requires trial and error
and experience.
Rule of thumb: start by including modes with frequencies at least 2x the frequency of interest in the simulation results - be
sure to test with more modes however, to see if this provides enough accuracy.
Independent Interface Nodes Required
Another requirement in the CMS method is that the exterior grids points must be able to move independently of the interior
nodes of the flexible body. A common case that causes CMS failures is when the center point of a rigid spider, which is defined
as a flexible body interface node, is dependent on the displacements of the outer nodes an RBE3 element in OptiStruct. This

Flexible Bodies

situation is shown in the figure below where the center of the rigid spider, node 4887, is a dependent, signified by the D next
to the node number, node of a RBE3 element. The user can change the configuration of the RBE3 element to a RBE2 element
with an independent center node in HyperMesh


Flexible File Generation Using MotionView FlexPrep And OptiStruct

To generate flexible bodies for use in MotionView/MotionSolve, the user can:

- Use the FlexPrep utility in MotionView interface.
- Use HyperMesh to setup the model and run it in OptiStruct. (Please refer to tutorial RD-4030)
- Manually edit the FE input file before solving it in OptiStruct (e.g., to include cards that reduce the flexible body file size)
Once the FE solver creates the flex body h3d file, it is imported to the MBD model and connected to MBD model constraints,
motion, force, etc. Finally, the MBD model with the flexible body is simulated using MotionSolve, or other compatible MBS solver.

Using FlexPrep in MotionView

FlexPrep is a utility provided in MotionView which allows the user to generate a flexible body from a FE Bulk Data file. The
FlexPrep process is shown in the figure below, and the dialog box is accessed through the MotionView menu bar FlexTools >
Besides generating the flexible body from an FE model, the FlexPrep can:
- Create RBE2 spiders to place the interface nodes in the center of holes in the FE model by accessing HyperMesh
- Include modal stress and/or strain cards in the OptiStruct Bulk Data File
- Mirror an existing flexible body h3d about a plane


Flexible Bodies

- Create Optistruct preparation file which can be used in the file size reduction of a flexible body.
- Convert flexible body h3d files to other formats flexible body file formats, e.g. ADAMS .mnf/.mtx.
- Create a modified OptiStruct Bulk Data File without creating the flexible body to be further edited outside of the FlexPrep



The following data is included in a flexbody H3D file:

1. Nodal positions.
2. Element connectivity.
3. Eigenvalues of all modes.
4. Inertia invariants (optional).
5. Nodal mass.
6. Nodal inertia (optional).
7. Translational displacement mode shapes.
8. Rotational displacement mode shapes.
9. Interface node IDs (optional).
10. Element stress/strain tensors (optional).
11. Global (rigid) inertia properties (optional).
Flexprep.exe always generates points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11 and writes them to the H3D file. Points 4, 6, 9, and 11 are
not strictly required.


Flexible Bodies

For most cases, OptiStruct is a unitless code, so it is up to the user to make sure that the values entered into the various fields
in the OptiStruct input deck form a consistent set of units. A consistent set of units is defined as:
1 force unit = 1 mass unit * 1 acceleration unit
1 acceleration unit = 1 length unit / (1 time unit)^2
1 density unit = 1 mass unit / (1 length unit)^3
Fortunately, when creating a flexible body .h3d file for MotionView, the values entered in the fields do not need to form a
consistent set of units. For instance, the mass unit can be kilograms while the length unit is millimeters. OptiStruct manages
the units for the flexible body output through the DTI, UNITS card as described in the last section.
For units to be consistent between the flexbody and the MDL model by which the flexbody is utilized, the units of the FEA model
must be identified. This unit information is stored in the H3D file and all affected parameters in the solver flexbody matrix file
are scaled accordingly

9.5.1 Quasi-Static Simulation And Solver Settings

In this section the user is introduced to Quasi-Static simulation and will understand:
- The definition, solution overview, and the application of quasi-static simulation.
- Simulation parameters for the force imbalance method.
Physically, quasi-static means that the system is being driven extremely slowly so as not to engage any transient
dynamics into the simulation results.
Mathematically, quasi-static simulation is a sequence of static simulations performed over a given duration.
It is useful when the model contains time-dependent forces or motions and the user is interested in the sequence of
equilibrium configurations the model passes through for a give time period.
The model configuration is taken as a starting point and the equilibrium solution is calculated using the Force
Imbalance method such that there are no unbalanced forces or torques on any of the bodies in the system, and all the
kinematic constraints are satisfied.
This configuration then becomes the starting point for the next time step, and so on
Solution Overview
Forces or motions are a function of time.
Velocities, accelerations, and any time derivatives are set to zero.
The generalized coordinates and constraint forces are the unknowns.
MotionSolve calculates the static force balance problem at time step.
Force Imbalance Method (FIM) Notes
- The FIM method makes no distinction among equilibriums based on stability. In other words, it is equally capable of
finding both stable and unstable equilibriums (e.g, an inverted pendulum is an unstable equilibrium configuration).
- The FIM method has difficulty in cases where the equilibrium configuration is far from the model design configuration
and for models dominated by discontinuous effects such as contact.


Flexible Bodies

Governing equations are algebraic in nature and solved with Newton-Raphson method.
- Suspension design, stability analysis (tilt-table), steady state simulations

Simulation Parameters for Static Simulation (Force Imbalance)

Click on the Run panel. First define Working directory and file name.

Second, click on the Statics/Quasi-statics tab.

Select the Force Imbalance method.

The user can change parameters to help the solver converge to a solution. All the simulation parameters are explained next:
Maximum Number of Iterations
Specifies the maximum number of iterations in Newton-Raphson that are allowed for a
Maximum Residual

Specifies the upper limit for the residual of the system equations at the solution point

Maximum Force Imbalance Tolerance Specifies the maximum force imbalance in the equations of motion allowed at the
solution point
Translational Limit

Specifies the maximum change per iteration for all translational states in the model

Rotational Limit

Specifies the maximum change per iteration for all rotational states in the model

Stability Limit

Specifies the fraction of the mass matrix that is added to the Jacobian in order to
ensure that it is not singular. This effectively makes moving lighter bodies easier
for increasing value of this parameter during the iterations to find a solution (e.g., a car
chassis would move less than its suspension)

Note: For more information regarding the Quasi-Static solver parameters please refer to Help->HyperWorks Home Help->
Reference Guides->MotionSolve->Reference Guide->XML Format->Model Statements->Param_Static.


Flexible Bodies

Example: Creating and Simulating Flexible Lower Control Arm (LCA)

(The files for this step are located in the folder \model_files\chapter12)

This exercise will:

Introduce flexible body generation techniques available in MotionView and OptiStruct.
Introduce the FlexPrep utility for flex body generation.
Run a series of quasi-static analysis using the flexible body in a suspension model.
(Optional) Use various techniques available in OptiStruct to reduce the size of the flex body h3d file.

Step 1: Start A New MotionView Session And Launch FlexPrep To Generate A Flexible Body

FlexPrep takes a baseline bulk data file (Optistruct solver file) and your inputs to do two things:
- Generate an OptiStruct input deck with the _prp.fem file suffix and extension.
- Call OptiStruct to run the job and create a flexible body h3d file.
Select the Optistruct Flexbody Generation toggle in the upper left.


Flexible Bodies

From the pull down menu select the Create OptiStruct prp (preparation) file and generate the h3d flexbody option.
Select Bulk Data File (OptiStruct fem file) and select the file, here in this example sla_flex_left.fem.
For the Save the *.h3d file as field, enter the name of the output H3D file. Here the file name is sla_flex_left.h3d. Save it in
the same directory as the previous bulk data file.
For the Component Mode Synthesis Type, select Craig-Bampton to perform Craig-Bampton component mode synthesis.
In the Specify Interface Node List field, enter 4887+4888+4890. Note: Plus (+) symbol is used as a separator between two
node ids. The colon operator (:) specifies a range of node ids. For example, typing 1100:1105 to specify all node ids from
1100 to 1105 are interface nodes.
The interface nodes are the nodes where constraints or forces are applied in the MBD analysis.
In this case, two of the nodes are located at the two corners of the control arm, while the third node is located at its center.
Generally, the user will need to identify the interface nodes ids in a FEA pre-processor like HyperMesh.

For the Cutoff Type and value, select Highest Mode # and enter a value of 15. This value determines the number of fixed
interface (Craig-Bampton) or free-free eigen (Craig-Chang) modes to calculate for the CMS analysis.
As an alternative, the user can specify in the drop-down menu to calculate all the fixed interface or free-free eigen modes
below a certain frequency.

Step 2: Create RBE2 Spiders

RBE2 elements rigidly connect an independent FEA node to one or more dependent nodes. Most often for MBD flexible bodies,
the RBE2 elements are rigid spiders that have the independent node at the center of a hole and the dependent nodes
along the circumference modeling bolts or other connection hardware. The independent node of the rigid spider becomes an
interface node of the flexible body that allows the body to connect to other elements like joints or forces in the MBD model.

Launch HyperMesh by selecting the Create RBE2 Spiders button in the FlexBodyPrep dialog box.


Flexible Bodies


After HyperMesh starts select the OptiStruct Radio button in the User Profiles dialog box.

If the User Profiles dialog box does not appear, you can set or confirm the profile via the menu selection Preferences > User
In the Browser section, navigate to the Utility menu on the left and click on
User page. (usually near the bottom of the Utility Browser). The User page displays three
buttons (Step 1 to Step 3) as shown in the figure below.
Select the Step1: Info button which will
open a dialog box that explains the procedure to
create RBE2 spiders.
Zoom into the area of the lower ball joint
location as shown in the image The controls to
zoom and position the model are similar to those in


Click the Step 2: Superspider button to create an RBE2 spider.

Select a single node on the periphery of the hole and click proceed. The script will create a RBE2 Spider
automatically as shown in image


Flexible Bodies

Step 3: Ensure The Interface Nodes Are Independent.

The center nodes of the rigid spiders are the interface nodes for the flexible body. These nodes must be independent and a
common mistake is having a RBE3 element which generally has a dependent center node rather than a RBE2 element with
an independent center node. In the following we will show how to find RBE3 elements and change them to a RBE2 element.

While still in HyperMesh, select the mask panel


Left mouse click the elems collector, and choose by config selection.


Left mouse click the config = button, and click the rbe3 elements.

4. Click the select entities button. Note: only RBE3 elements are now selected. In order to only display RBE3 we
need to reverse the selection i.e. all elements are selected but RBE3 and then hit the mask command which will
leave only RBE3 in the graphic area.

Click the elems entity collector, then reverse the elements selected.


Click mask to hide all the elements that are not a RBE3 element.


Click return to exit the panel.

8. Select the Isometric view icon

in the Standard Views toolbar to show the RBE3 elements in the model.
The RBE3 element is the rigid spider at the front inner connection point for the LCA.


Click the 1D page to open it, and select the config edit panel.

10. Click the elems entity collector, and click displayed to select all of the elements.
11. Left mouse click the new config = panel, select rigidlink as the element.

Flexible Bodies

12. Click the switch button so the RBE3 elements at the interface nodes become RBE2 elements.
Note: Only RBE3 spiders with a dependent center node that is an interface node needs to be changed, so the user
might have to use a different element selection method to change the dependency RBE3 spiders when some RBE3
element center nodes are not an interface node.
13. Click return to exit the panel.
14. Zoom into the rigid spider.
15. Click the rigids panel to open it.
16. Click the review button and select the RBE2 element in the graphics window with the left mouse button. The
dependency of the rigid spider is shown in the graphics window. Manipulate the view so the center node of the spider
is shown and notice the I next to the node indicating it is an independent node.
17. Select the unmask
18. Click

icon to show all the masked entities.

in the HyperWorks Standard Views toolbar. The model should look similar to the image below.

Step 4: Return To The FlexPrep Utility And Run OptiStruct.


Return to the Utility tab and click the Step3: Save and Close button.

This will bring up the Save As dialog box.

2. Save the file (here as SLA_flex_left.fem) which will save the modified file and automatically create an interface
node at the center of the rigid spider created in the previous step in the FlexPrep dialog box.
Note: Explicitly specify the *.fem extension while saving the file.


Flexible Bodies

The independet nodes of the superspider are automatically listed in the field:

Note: Interface nodes can be added or removed manually.


Click the checkbox next to Perform Stress Recovery and Perform Strain Recovery to activate them.

With this option set, the FlexPrep includes relevant cards in the OptiStruct input deck to calculate the modal stresses and strain.


Under Specify Units in the Bulk Data File, select for instance, the following:

Mass Units Kilogram

Length Millimeter
Force Newton


5. Click OK in the FlexPrep dialog box to launch OptiStruct to create the flexible body file (.h3d). An OptiStruct
window provides messages from OptiStruct regarding the CMS run. Check for any error messages in the OptiStruct
window when the simulation has been completed.
Step 5: Viewing The Model And Verifying Results
In this step, you will verify your work in the previous steps by viewing the flexible control arm in HyperView.

From the client selector toolbar, select the HyperView client.


Click the Open Model icon

and select the H3D flex file you just created with FlexPrep *.h3d

The flexible arm model and its modal results are contained in the H3D flex file you created using the FlexPrep tool. Since the
modal results are also contained in the same H3D file, MotionView automatically updates the Load results file field with the
same filename.


Flexible Bodies

Click the Select animation mode arrow to open the list of options.
Select Set Transient Animation Mode
Click on Start/Pause Animation button. HyperView sequentially
animates the flexible control arm through all of its mode shapes. The mode
number and its frequency are displayed at the top-right of the window. This
allows you to quickly scan all of the modes and look for any mode shapes that
may look poor or suspect.
Stop the cycling of modes by clicking the Start/Pause Animation.
, which will animate one mode at a time.
Select the Set Modal Animation Mode
To animate a particular mode shape, go to the Results Browser and select e.g. the mode 7 from the drop down
menu as shown in the figure to the right.

icon to contour the deformations on the flexi9

Click the Contour
ble body.
From the Result type pull down menu select Displacement (v) and Mag
as shown in the figure below.

9.5.2 How To Link/Reference The Flexbody In The MBD Model?

In the Project Browser select the rigid body which now will be replaced by a flexible body. In the associated body panel >
Properties, select Deformable

and load the flex *h3d file created before.


Flexible Bodies

flex *.h3d

Then click on Nodes (located on the right edge of the panel)

Click the Find All button on the Nodes dialog to find nodes on the flexible body which are located the closest to the interface
points of the (rigid) MBD model.

Sometimes there is a little offset between the flexible body interface node and its corresponding interface point in the model.
When one clicks the Align button, MotionView moves the connection point in the model (and subsequently the markers that define
the connection) to the node location on the flexible body. This affects other entities that reference this point. If there is a non-zero
offset, MotionSolve will insert a dummy body between the flexible body and the nearest connection point.

After this step is completed the Offset should be 0.


Flexible Bodies

Then close this panel and proceed with Modes

This box shows the user which modes are active during the simulation, and allows the user to select different options to define
the modal damping during the MotionSolve run. Although the dialog box has the option to turn on or off individual modes, it is
strongly advised to never turn off any of the flexible body modes other than the rigid body modes. The first six modes are rigid
body modes, and are always turned off by default since the rigid body motion is already computed by MotionSolve and thus
these modes are not necessary. The modes dialog box is shown below.

Note: The default settings for damping are:

Frequencies under 100Hz, 1% damping
Frequencies greater than 100Hz and less than
1000Hz, 10% damping
Frequencies greater than 1000 Hz use 100%
Alternative damping may be provided. See Body Panel
(F1 help) and/or Body_Flexible for more details.
Help->HyperWorks Home Help-> Reference Guides>MotionSolve->Reference Guide->XML Format->Model
Statements-> Body_Flexible

This completes the Flex-Body part. Eventually, run a model check, specify the Simulation Parameters (under RUN), and save
the model as *mdl and *.xml file.
In case you are interested to see how the lower control arm from the exercise above is embedded into the system, please have
a look at tutorial MV-2020: Use of Flexbody in MBD Models. In the course of this tutorial the flexbody will be included in the
system by making use of an Assembly Wizard.

An illustrative example on how to manually invoke a flexbody into the system is provided in the Chapter entitled:
The Slider Crank Mechanism (With Flexible Con-Rod)


Flexible Bodies

A helpful summary regarding flexbody generation is provided in the video (duration 34 minutes) recorded by Gitesh Porwal

You may also find the 2 videos from below about a piston crank (with flexible body) interesting. Originally, the videos were created
by our team in Korea and translated in English language by Prakash Pagadala.

Part I, 8:40 minutes;

Part II; 8 minutes;

9.5.3 Tips On Modeling Flexible Bodies

Use the full set of component modes (i.e., for all frequencies) in multi-body simulation for most accurate simulation results.
Deactivating some of them will gain computational speed at the sacrifice of accuracy, but this may be acceptable. If you
see integration failures, try adding more modes back to the flexible body.
Since the flexible bodies are modal, the deformation must be linear (e.g, ~10% deformation of characteristic length of
body). Use flexible body sub-structuring to model geometric non-linearity. For example, break up a single flexible body into
multiple flexible bodies connected by joints and/or bushings to model non-linear behavior. Example: (long) wind turbine
rotor blade.
Avoid selecting interface nodes that are too close together. This increases the likelihood of modes being almost linearly
dependent, which causes difficulty in the solution.
A fine mesh is usually not necessary for component mode synthesis as only a few fixed interface eigenmodes are needed.
Most often people use too fine a mesh, rather than too coarse.
Use Released DOF method to keep the number of CMS modes low for models that have a large number of interface nodes.
For example, release the rotational degree of freedom for a revolute joint. The released DOF (degrees of freedom) feature
enables the user to free some degrees of freedom of the interface nodes which removes modes that are unnecessary to


Flexible Bodies

describe the motion of the flex body, thus reducing the flexbody file size. If the appropriate DOF are released for a particular
interface node the simulation is not affected in any way. The DOF released will depend on the kind of kinematic constraint
applied at the interface node. For example, a revolute joint has one DOF in the MBD model. This DOF can be released in at
the interface node, since there is no constraint to apply a torque in this direction. The modal information in this direction
is useless to the simulation. Similarly, for a ball (spherical) joint, the three rotational DOF can be released for the same


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

10 Tutorial: The Slider Crank Mechanism

(With Flexible Con-Rod)
written by Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Markus Kriesch and Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Andr Wehr, Germany


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

Preprocessing Using A Flexible Body

Usually in this simulation, the con-rod is modeled as flexible body. So we will convert the rigid conrod into a flexible body. Assume
that conrod geometry is available, it is already meshed in HyperMesh and the input deck (.fem) was exported.

To preprocess the flexbody we make use of the FlexPrep Tool

Step 1: Generating/Building The FlexBody (Using The FlexPrep Tool)
To launch FlexPrep, click on the FlexTools menu near the top of the HyperWorks window. See the figure below.

The FlexBodyPrep dialog, shown below, will appear.

Figure 34: Flex Body Prep GUI Bulk Data File

Clicking Create RBE2 Spiders opens HyperMesh with a three-step-approach to generate rigid body elements to connect a flexible


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

Figure 35: Creation Of RBE-Spiders Part 1

The conrod bushing nodes shall be used as dependent nodes of the RBE2.

Figure 36: Creation Of RBE-Spiders Part 2


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

Similarly another RBE-spider can be created for the second bushing. After the modification is complete, the flex body can be saved
and closed by clicking button Step 3. See figure below.

Figure 37: Save And Close RBE-Spiders

The h3d graphic file of the flexible body is created. This is then loaded into the FlexPrep dialog. See figure below.

Figure 38: Flex Body Prep Graphic File


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

The field Specify Interface Node List shows the two independent nodes of the RBE-spiders. Then the performance of stress
recovery and strain recovery should be selected. The other fields have to be left default and the flex body preparation shall be
finished by clicking OK.

Figure 39: Flex Body Prep Stress And Strain


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

Step 2: Adapting Body Properties

To convert the rigid conrod body to be flexible, choose it in the model tree. In the Properties menu check the select box Deformable
and specify the Flex h3d-file as the Graphic file.

Figure 40: Body Properties Adaption Graphic File

After opening the Graphic File the selected one is also taken over at H3D file, which is the default and shall be used for this tutorial.
Then the dialog Nodes... shall be opened. This dialog box will help finding the node attachment points for the part connectors (in
case of the tutorial the joints). Click the Find All button on the Nodes dialog to find nodes on the flexible body which are located
the closest to the interface points on the crank mechanism model.


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

Sometimes there is a little offset between the flexible body interface node and its corresponding interface point in the model.
When one clicks the Align button, MotionView moves the connection point in the model (and subsequently the markers that define
the connection) to the node location on the flexible body. This affects other entities that reference this point. If there is a non-zero
offset, MotionSolve will insert a dummy body between the flexible body and the nearest connection point.

Figure 41: Nodes Dialog

The dialog Modes... allows the user to choose the modes which shall be included in the simulation (see image below). For this
tutorial the default-settings should be used.

This window which is prompted after the Modes option was activated shows which modes are active during the simulation,
and allows to select different options to define the modal damping during the MotionSolve run. Although the dialog box has the
option to turn on or off individual modes, it is strongly advised to never turn off any of the flexible body modes other than the rigid
body modes. The first six modes are rigid body modes, and are always turned off by default since the rigid body motion is already
computed by MotionSolve and thus these modes are not necessary. The modes dialog box is shown below.


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

Figure 42: Modes Dialog

Step 3: Set The Simulation Parameters

As in the rigid model before, the same Simulation Parameters shall be used. Afterwards, the solver input deck has to be saved.

Figure 43: Simulation Parameters


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

Step 4: Check The Model

Before running the solver, again, the model check should be used to prove the model for possible errors.

Figure 44: Check Model

Step 5: Execute The Solver Run

The solver can be started in order to calculate the MBD-simulation with the flexible conrod.

Figure 45: Solver View


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

Step 6: Post-Processing
In an exemplary manner to the stress, it should be shown how the results of the simulation can be displayed by using flexible
bodies. As of missed out pressure forces within the cylinder and the very massively designed conrod, the stresses are, as expected,
very low.

Figure 46: Post-Processing Flexible Body


Slider Crank Mechanism (FlexBody)

This tutorial demonstrates the use of MotionView/MotionSolve to solve a simple multi-body model. MotionView is the modeling
environment. It allows you to build models graphically. You can even add flexible bodies in your system model. MotionSolve is the
solver. Given a model description, it formulates the equations of motion and solves these using numerical methods.
The results generated by MotionSolve may be used to understand and improve the behavior of the system.

List Of References
[1] Rill, Georg; S., T.: Grundlagen und Methodik der Mehrkrpersimulation. Vieweg+Teubner, 2010. ISBN 978-3-8348-0888-2.
[2] Altair Engineering 2013.
[3] Kecskemthy, Andrs: Mehrkrpersimulation. Essener Unikate, 2007.
[4] MotionView Introduction. Altair Engineering.
[5] Schaeffer, Thomas: Mehrkrpersimulation (MKS): Einsatzmglichkeiten, Entwicklungstrends und neue Mglichkeiten der
Kooperation. Info-Workshop 4, 2009.
[6] Schmalzl, Jrgen: Simulation des dynamischen Verhaltens von Flurfrderzeugen in der Lagertechnik. Dissertation, 2006.
[7] Grote, K.-H.; Feldhusen, J.: Dubbel Taschenbuch fr den Maschinenbau, 23. Auflage. Springer, 2011. ISBN 978-3- 64217305-9.


Load Extraction


Load Extraction

The following videos provide an overview and introduction into the topic: Load Extraction from MBD models (from Mike White).; duration 17 minutes

Our colleague Keshav Sundaresh / USA provides some more details in his summary:; duration 13 minutes

The following tutorial is taken from the Help Documentation (MV-3030: Load Export)
The Load Export utility allows you to bridge the gap between Multi-Body Dynamics (MBD) analysis and Finite Element (FE)
analysis using MotionView by:
Identifying and summarizing all loads acting on one/multiple body(ies) for any given time step(s) in a tabular format.
Identifying and transferring all the forces and moments for one component at any given time step(s) to a NASTRAN input
deck that contains GRID, CORD, FORCE, and MOMENT cards.
Using Load Export
To use this utility, specify the components in the MotionView model for which loads are to be processed. You can do this by:
Using the MotionView Interface.


Load Extraction

Editing the MDL model file to add force output requests on body(ies).
When performing the MotionSolve solver run on the MotionView model, you will get a metadata file (an ASCII file written out
from MotionView that contains information about force output on a body).
This file along with the solver output files MS (*.plt) becomes the input files for this utility. The application scope of this utility
is shown in the figure below:

Application Scope of the Load Export Utility

Step 1: Creating a Metadata File and Launching Load Export.

1. Copy the file load_export.mdl from <installation_directory>\tutorials\mv_hv_hg\mbd_modeling\externalcodes to <working
2. Start a new MotionView session.
3. Load the front vehicle model file load_export.mdl, located in your working directory.

4. Right-click on The Model in the Project Browser and select Add General MDL Entity > Output, or right-click the Outputs icon,
, on the Model-General toolbar.

Load Extraction

The Add Output dialog is displayed.

5. Accept the default selections and click OK.
6. Use the drop-down menu to change the Output type from the default Displacement to Force.
7. Double-click the Body collector.

The Select a Body dialog is displayed.

8. Expand the model-tree.

9. In the Frnt macpherson susp system folder, expand the Bodies folder and select the body Lwr control arm left. (or you can
pick the Lwr Control arm - left directly from the model in the graphics area by clicking the Body collector once).

10. Repeat steps 4 through 9 to create an output force request on Lwr control arm right.

11. Click the Run Solver icon

12. Under Simulation Parameters, change End Time to 2 seconds.

13. Save the solver input file as load_export.xml, to your working directory.
14. Click on the Run button, to solve the model in MotionSolve.
MotionView creates a metadata file named load_export.meta in the working directory

Step 2: Using the Load Export Utility and Generating a NASTRAN Input Deck.
1. From the Flex Tools menu, select the Load Export utility.

Launching the Load Export utility


Load Extraction

The Load Export utility

2. From the Load Export panel, open the file load_export.meta, located in your working directory
All bodies for which force outputs are requested are displayed in a tree structure in the Body Selection panel. You can select
one or multiple bodies from the tree. In this step select the body Lwr control arm-left.

Body Selection Panel

3. Expand the sys_frnt_susp folder and select the body Lwr control arm left.
All the forces acting on the lwr control arm left are displayed in the Force Selection panel. You can choose any number of loads
acting on the body. Only the loads selected by you are exported by the utility.
4. Select all three forces acting on Lwr control arm left.


Load Extraction

5. The Time Selection panel allows you to enter/select the time steps for which the loads are to be exported.
6. Click the Range button (highlighted in yellow in the image above).
7. The current simulation runs from 0 to 2 seconds. Specify a Minimum Time Step Value of 1 and a Maximum Time Step Value
of 2.

Click Apply.
9. Enter Min/Max Time Step Values.
10. Click Apply on the Time Selection panel (highlighted in yellow below)


Load Extraction

11. Select OPTISTRUCT/NASTRAN [1] by using the radio button under the Export panel.

12. Click Nastran Options [2] to launch the Nastran Export Panel.
This dialog allows you to enter the Nastran node ID numbers in the second column of the table.
You can specify three additional options:
-the Nastran deck format (Large/Small)
-the reference frame (LPRF/Global) in which the GRID cards are written
-whether or not to explicitly output the CORD1R card in the Nastran input deck (Yes/No)

13. Accept the default selections in the Nastran Export dialog.

14. Specify the Node IDs as follows:


Load Extraction

Lwr ball joint 1

LCA rear bush 2
LCA frnt bush 3
15. Click Apply.
16. Click Export on the Load Export panel.
17. Specify a filename.
18. Click Save.

This creates a subcase file, in addition to the Nastran input deck, in the same directory as the .dat file.

19. Repeat steps 3 through 18 to export the loads on the Lwr control arm right.


Exercise - Motorcycle


Demo - Motorcycle

In this exercise we will guide you through the process of building a motorcycle including the definition of a flexbody, various rigid
bodies, joints, motions, forces (BISTEP), output requests and load extraction. The FEM model which will be used for the flexbody
and the Points is available as zipped file (

In the series of videos listed below a considerable amount of time goes into defining points, bodies and joints. As a consequence, there are many repetitive steps shown in these videos. Feel free to fast-forward the video(s) if you think there is not too
much new to learn ...
In this image the POINTS of the motorcycle are shown:


Exercise - Motorcycle

The name convention of the bodies is depicted in this image:

The various Joints are shown in the following images:


Exercise - Motorcycle

Video 1 (3:40 minutes)

Video 2 (2:30 minutes)

Video 3 (5:20 minutes)


Exercise - Motorcycle

Video 4 (14 minutes)

Video 5 (6 minutes)

Video 6 (7:40 minutes)


Exercise - Motorcycle

Video 7 (5 minutes)

Video 8 (12 minutes)

Video 9 (7:30 minutes)


Exercise - Motorcycle

Video 10 (12:40 minutes)

Video 11 (6 minutes)


Contact Simulation


Contact Simulation

13.1. General Remarks & Overview

As we have seen in the previous chapter, solid models are indeed useful when it comes to tasks like the calculation of the mass
moments of inertia of geometrically complex objects. But as we have also seen, a lot of mechanisms-theory uses kinematic
representations to perform various calculations. In this approach, the detailed shape of the body is immaterial. You only need to
specify the locations of the nodes and the moments of inertia of each of the links. This means the detailed 3D model is often a
dispensable overhead.
There are situations where the 3D model is essential, as will see subsequently when we study problems that involve contact.

In the video below Gitesh Porwal describes some basic principles on how to set up a contact simulation with MotionView and
MotionSolve (duration 7:40 minutes)

The very nature of MBD means that in many cases bodies move through large distances during the periods of interest. The
movement may cause contact to occur between different bodies, or between different surfaces of the same body. In turn, the
contacts give rise to forces. Examples of contact abound, of course. Electric switches, for instance, are designed to make and
break contact. The duration of contact is a critical parameter, particularly for high-voltage equipment. The problem, then, is for the
simulation tool to figure out whether contact has been made or contact has been broken. This necessarily complicates the MBD
modeling approach, since such a calculation is based on a knowledge of where one body ends and another begins. In other words,
the definitions of the surfaces that make up the outer volumes of the bodies are essential.
This is quite a departure from the approach we have seen so far, where the surface definitions of the body are dispensable for the
calculations. In the absence of contact, the inclusion of the surfaces is mainly to aid visualization. If contact has to be included in
the analysis, however, the boundary surfaces are no longer optional. They are an essential part of the problem definition.
One common mistake is to use contact where a constraint would suffice. If you are sure that two links are always going to be in
contact, then it is more efficient to use a constraint such as a point-to-curve or a point-to-surface constraint. It is when you are
unsure of whether the bodies will be in contact with each other or not that a full modeling of contact becomes essential.
The coefficient of restitution (COR) is an important property in any collision. And since the establishment of contact is a collision,
the COR must be specified whenever contact is used.
Theres another bit of data that makes a larger difference to the solution than the COR. And unfortunately, is even harder to
characterize. This is the coefficient of friction.


Contact Simulation

Slip and No-Slip

When one object rolls against another, it is important to establish whether slip is involved or the motion is pure rolling. For involute
gears, for instance, slip is involved at all points of contact except at the pitch point. If slip is involved, the coefficient of friction is
different than if the motion is pure rolling.
Friction: Static, Dynamic and Stiction
The study of the mechanics of friction dates back at least to Leonardo da Vincis times, but the accepted Law of friction is not
as useful as we would like it to be. David Kessler (Nature 413, 285-288, 20 September 2001) put it quite clearly when he wrote
It is one of the dirty little secrets of physics that while we physicists can tell you a lot about quarks, quasars and other exotica,
there is still no universally accepted explanation of the basic laws of friction.
Coulombs Law of friction is simple, and widely used. In this, friction is of two types: static and dynamic. Static Friction occurs
when there is no relative motion between the surfaces in contact with each other, while Dynamic Friction applies if there is relative
motion. What of the transition zone between static and dynamic friction? This is sometimes referred to as Stiction, probably
derived from sticky friction, which is seen when a body is just beginning to move: it is also sometimes called the Limiting Friction.

In any case, we calculate the frictional force using the formula

F = m RN
where m is the coefficient of friction, and RN is the normal reaction at the point or surface of contact.
The approach used by MotionSolve to model friction is shown in the figure, where ms is the static coefficient of friction, md is the
dynamic coefficient of friction, vs is the stiction transition velocity, and vd is the friction transition velocity.
The following paragraph is based on MotionView 12.0 Introduction Training
Contacts Forces in MotionView and MotionSolve
During a MotionSolve simulation, the contact collision algorithm searches for penetration between the meshed explicit or primitive
graphics that define the contact force entity. When geometric penetration is detected, MotionSolve determines the set of elements
interfering with one another and calculates the contact normal and friction forces. The contact normal forces are calculated by
either the Impact or Poisson contact models. The friction force for both the Poisson and Impact models is calculated using the
Coulomb friction model. MotionSolve also allows the calculation of the contact normal and frictional forces using the CNFSUB and
CFFSUB subroutines written in C++, FORTRAN, Python, or MatLab.


Contact Simulation

Impact Contact Model

The following table lists the four parameters that define the Impact Contact Model:


Non-negative stiffness of the contact. Note: the units depend on the stiffness exponent.
For example, a value of 2.0 for the stiffness exponent results in units of Force/

Stiffness Exponent

Exponent of the force-deformation characteristic. A value greater than one represents a

stiffening characteristic while a value less than one represents a softening characteristic
to the stiffness.

Maximum Damping The maximum damping coefficient.

Penetration at Max
The contact penetration at which the maximum damping is applied.
When the collision detection algorithm detects contact, the penetration depth, rate of penetration, and the above four parameters
are sent to the MotionSolve IMPACT function where the normal force is calculated for each node.
For more information on the IMPACT function, please refer the .xml reference guide for function definitions:
Help > HyperWorks Help Home > Reference Guides > MotionSolve > Reference Guide > XML Format > Functions

Poisson Contact Model

The Poisson contact model determines the normal contact force using the equations below:


Contact Simulation

The user input for the Poisson contact model in MotionView is the penalty parameter and the Coefficient of Restitution. As
expected, the penalty parameter is the stiffness of the contact; a larger value produces less penetration. The coefficient of
restitution controls the relative velocity of approach to the velocity of separation think of a ball bouncing. A COR of 1.0 implies
a perfectly elastic collision, hence the velocity of separation is the same as the velocity before the collision and all energy is
conserved. Conversely, a COR of 0.0 implies a perfectly plastic collision, so the bodies will stick together after the collision all
kinetic energy is dissipated.
Finally, the transition normal transition velocity controls at what approach velocity the damping force starts to get smaller and
transition to damping the force when the objects are moving away from one another. This value defaults to 1.0 if it is not specified,
and it cannot be modified within the MotionView environment It is rarely modified. To change from the default value, create the
contact using the .xml template builder for the Force_Contact statement or modify the .xml file in a text editor.
User Subroutines for Contact
The user can define their own contact algorithm using the CNSUB and CFFSUB subroutines for the contact normal and frictional
forces respectively. Again, the user can write subroutines in C++, FORTRAN, Python, or MatLab. To see the input and output
arguments to the contact subroutines please refer to the MotionSolve reference guide.
For more information on the contact force calculations, please refer to the Force_Contact statement in the .xml reference guide:
Help > HyperWorks Help Home > Reference Guides > MotionSolve > Reference Guide > XML Format > Model Statements

For more information on the contact force subroutines, please refer to the Force_Contact statement in the .xml reference guide:
Help > HyperWorks Help Home > Reference Guides > MotionSolve > Reference Guide > XML Format > The Subroutine
Interface for MotionSolve > Types of User-Written Subroutines > Modeling Subroutines
Coulomb Contact Friction
MotionSolve provides the Coulomb friction law to model contact friction. The law states that the friction force is a product of the
contact normal force multiplied by a coefficient friction in the direction opposite of the slip velocity between the two geometries.
In Motion Solve, the user can elect to use only dynamic friction or a combination of static and dynamic friction. In either case, the
coefficient of friction is a function of the slip velocity between the two contact geometries as show in the figure.

When modeling dynamic friction only, as shown by the blue line to the right, the user needs to enter the maximum dynamic friction
coefficient and the slip velocity at which the maximum is applied mu_d and v_d in respectively in the graph above. When modeling
dynamic friction and stiction, as show by the red line, MotionSolve requires the additional parameters of the slip velocity at which
the maximum static friction is applied, v_s, and the maximum static friction mu_s as shown in the figure to the right. The table
below summarizes the input parameters for the friction model.


Contact Simulation

Mu Static

The coefficient of friction at the Stiction transition velocity. Not applicable when
calculating dynamic friction only.

Mu Dynamic

The coefficient of friction when the slip speed is greater than or equal to the Friction
Transition Velocity.


transition The slip speed at which the maximum coefficient of static friction is applied. Not
applicable when calculating dynamic friction only.



The slip speed at with the coefficient of dynamic friction is reached.

Contact Modeling Tips & Tricks

Make the contact stiffness as low as possible that still captures the system behavior. Large values for the penalty or
stiffness decreases the penetration allowed between geometries, but will decrease the integrator step size. The contact
force computation will be much smoother in general with moderate amount of penetration.

Some experimentation is usually required for tuning the contact parameters to get realistic and stable results.

Confirm that the model runs without any problems before adding contacts.

Start your modeling with contact friction set to off.

Remove surfaces that will not see the contact in order to improve performance.

Manually mesh the contact geometry in HyperMesh to decrease the mesh size. A finer mesh at the contact surface may
help obtain more accurate results, but increases the computational effort of the collision-detection algorithm.

Check the element normal vectors of the geometry elements in HyperMesh. The normal vectors of the elements that
define the geometry should all point outward from the surface of the body.

In the run panel under the transient tab with the show advanced parameters selected, set the DAE index to 1 or 2 and
select the Check Velocity States. This will have the integrator ensure the model states are consistent in displacement,
velocity, and acceleration for DAE index 1 and displacement and velocity with DAE index 2. For DAE index 1 and 2, the
displacement and velocity are monitored in the integration error.

Decrease the maximum simulation step size Max stepsize: in the Transient tab of the run panel.

Set the maximum integration order to 2.0 using a command .xml template and the Param_Transient statement.

Some experimentation is usually required for tuning the contact parameters to get realistic and stable results.

For more information on the integrator parameters, please refer to the Param_Transient statement in the .xml reference guide:
Help > HyperWorks Help Home > Reference Guides > MotionSolve > Reference Guide > XML Format > The Subroutine
Interface for MotionSolve > Types of User-Written Subroutines > Modeling Subroutines


Contact Simulation

The table below depicts some commonly encountered simulation problems and their solutions:
Bodies pass through each other.

Integration Failure.

Integration failure at start of simulation.

Contact locks bodies together.

Decrease maximum simulation time step.
Decrease integrator error tolerance.
Increase contact stiffness.
Check element normal vectors in HyperMesh.
Activate contacts one at a time to identify
problematic contact.
Decrease penalty.
Decrease maximum simulation time step.
Reduce mesh size using HyperMesh
Increase integration error tolerance.
Decrease coefficients of friction.
Increase friction transition velocity.
Increase damping.
Check for whether parts are penetrating at model
Ensure that surface normal vectors are pointing
outward from the body surface in HyperMesh.

Contact Limitations
The current implementation of contacts in MotionSolve has some limitations:

Flexible body contact is not supported.

o As a workaround, define a deformable surface on the surface of the flexible body and create a point to deformable
surface contact

Contact between 2-D geometries such as a curve, arc, or circle is not supported.

The calculated contact force is discontinuous when a penetrating surface encounters an edge on the other surface.

Creating a Contact in MotionView

As with other modeling entities in MotionView, contacts are created from the model browser as shown in the figure on the next
page, or using the right mouse button and selecting the Contacts



Contact Simulation

When the Add Contact dialog box is displayed, as shown in the figure to the right, the user can provide a label, variable name, and
choose between creating a rigid-body to rigid-body contact or a
point to deformable surface contact. The point to deformable
surface contact is mainly used to model contact between flexible
bodies and is beyond the scope of this class.
After creating the contact, the Connectivity tab of the contact
panel allows the user to select the two parts that define the
contact as well as the geometry that produces the force between
the selected parts. Allowing the user to select the geometry that
defines the part generally saves simulation time by reducing
the number of elements the collision detection algorithm need
to process for parts that have multiple geometric entities. An
example of the contact connectivity panel is shown in the figure
below. Please note that not all the geometry of the two parts is
selected to define the contact interface.

The Properties tab of the contact panel allows the user to enter the contact parameters explained in the previous section. The
example below shows a Poisson Contact with static and dynamic friction applied.

Modifying Multiple Contacts in MotionView

By selecting Macros > Contact Properties Editor, the user
can modify multiple contact forces simultaneously. As
show in the figure, by highlighting with the mouse a group
of contact elements, the user can change the contact
parameters, type of contact, and friction calculation at
one time. To change the contact normal force calculation,
the user can simply press one of the arrow buttons to
move from Impact to Poisson.


Contact Simulation

Euler Angles
MotionView allows the user to orient a marker, joint, part, or force using Euler Angles. To select this option, pick Orient by angles in
the drop down menu for any panel that requires orientation input as shown in the figure to the right. Double clicking on the Euler
angles collector will open a dialog box where the user will input 3 angles, in degrees, according to the 3-1-3 convention.
According to the 3-1-3 convention, the original orientation is in the same direction as the marker selected in the Ref Marker
collector. The first rotation is about the z-axis of the new marker which repositions the x and y axes of the marker. The next rotation
is about the markers new x-axis which repositions the markers z and y axes. The third rotation is about the markers final z-axis
which determines the final positions of the markers x and y axes. An example of this is shown in the figure below, the first rotation,
about the original z-axis, repositions the coordinate system to Zo, X1, Y1. The second rotation about X1 orients the marker at X1, Y2,
and Z2. Finally, the rotation about Z2 axis produces the markers final orientation of X3, Y3, Z2. Euler angles can produce any possible
orientation for coordinate system in 3D space.

13.2. Tutorial - Contact Modeling

Step 1: Import CAD Geometry
This step will import a HyperMesh model of a basketball court with a ball, floor, post, rim, and backboard. This model already has
already been manually meshed to accurately capture the curvature of the various geometries in the model.
Start a new MotionView session.
Click Tools > Import CAD or FE.

In the Import CAD or FE dialog box ensure that the toggle Import CAD or Finite Element
Model with Mass and Inertias is selected.
Select HyperMesh as the input file format from the pull down menu next to Input File:


Contact Simulation


next to the Input File: and select the HyperMesh input file

next to the Output Graphic File: enter the file name basketball_court.h3d in the File Name: field, and click Open in
the Import CAD or FE dialog box as show in the figure below (the h3d file willbe created then).
Note: the mesh for this model has already been created manually in HyperMesh.

Click OK to import the geometry.

When the geometry has been imported, and the center of gravity for the various bodies calculated MotionView will display the
IMPORT CAD dialog box. Select Millimeter in the drop down menu for Input file length:.
Highlight the ball component by left clicking on its line in the CAD Components: text box.
Enter 9.764e-8 kg/mm^3 in the Apply density to selected components: dialog box and click Apply.
Note: The mass and density values of the ball component change.
Leave the other components densities at the default values. They are going to be fixed to the ground so their mass does not matter.
The values should match those in the image.


Contact Simulation

Click OK to calculate the mass and inertias of the various bodies in the HyperMesh file.

Step 2: Create the Joints and Set the Initial Condition of the Basketball
This step will create the fixed joints to connect the backboard, rim, and court to the ground; as well as set up the velocity, trajectory,
and backspin of the ball.
Create a fixed joint between the backboard and rim and the ground at the center of gravity for the backboard and rim.
Repeat step 1 above for the Post and floor part.
Create an Explicit Marker by right clicking on the

icon in the MotionView Reference Entity toolbar.

Enter Trajectory in the Label field in the Add Marker or MarkerPair dialog box.
In the Explicit Marker panel, select ball as the Parent Body.
Select the center of gravity of the ball for the Origin of the marker.
In the drop down menu for the marker orientation, select Orient by angles to select Euler angles as the orientation method.
Double click on the ZXZ collector to open the Euler Angles dialog box.
In the Euler Angles dialog box, enter 90 for X and 45 for Z.
The Z parameter is the trajectory of the basketball.
Click Close to enter the values into the orientation collector.
The Explicit Marker dialog box should look like the image below. Please notice how the final orientation of the marker is calculated
in terms of Euler angles: The first component is zero, so the markers orientation is the same as the global coordinate system; the
second component spins
the marker 90-deg about
its x axis; and finally, the
marker is rotated about its
new z axis 45-deg which
defines the balls initial
trajectory along its x axis.


Contact Simulation

Select ball by clicking on its name in the Project Browser.

In the Part panel, click the Initial Conditions tab.
Click on the check box next to Vx to create a translational velocity initial condition for the ball.
Enter 8100 in the Vx text field.
Then, click the check box next to Wy to create an initial rotational velocity (back spin) for the ball.
Enter 2*PI*1.5 in the Wy text field.
The 2*PI is to convert the backspin rotational velocity from rev/s to rad/s.
Click the check box next to Use Vm to define the translational velocity in a coordinate system other than the global coordinate
system. In this case we will use the explicit marker above.
Select the Trajectory marker defined above in the MARKER collector next to the Use Vm check mark. The body initial conditions
panel should look like the image:

In the Project Browser Graphics folder, click on the ball graphic entity.
In the Mesh Scheme: drop down menu select None.
This option controls how MotionView exports the geometry to the MotionSolve .xml file. Selecting None causes MotionView
to export all the elements in the .h3d graphics file. Any other selection will allow MotionView to increase the element size
in the MotionSolve .xml for explicit graphics entities which will reduce the output .h3d file size. Mesh coarsening is not
recommended for geometries that define a contact force.
Repeat steps 19 and 20 for the other graphic entities.
Step 3: Define Geometric Contacts
This step will define 3D rigid-to-rigid contact between
Right click on the Contacts

icon to open the Add Contact dialog box.

Enter a name for the contact in the Label field e.g. Contact_ball_rim
Make sure RigidToRigidContact is selected in the Type: drop down menu.
Click OK to create the contact.
In the Body I collector select the ball.
In the Body J collector select the Backboard and rim.
Click the check marks next to ball and Backboard and rim to select the geometric entities that define the contact for the I and
J bodies.
If the two parts that make up the contact had multiple geometric entities attached to them, the user could select which geometries
define the contact interface thus reducing computation time. The Contact Connectivity panel should look like the image.


Contact Simulation

Repeat steps 1 through 7 to create a contact between the ball and the Post and floor parts.
In the menu bar on the top of the screen select Macros > Contact Properties Editor as shown in the image.

Highlight the two contacts defined in the previous steps by holding down the CTRL key and right clicking on their labels in the
Contact Properties dialog box.
Use the


arrow buttons to get the contact labels in the Poisson text box.

Using the same method as in step 10, select both contacts and enter 4000 and 0.85 in the Penalty: and Restitution_coeff
fields respectively.
In the Friction section of the Contact Properties dialog box set the Calculation options: drop down menu to ON.
Enter in the following information in the provided text boxes for the contact friction parameters. Increase the size of the
Contact Properties dialog box if all the friction parameters are not displayed.

Mu Static

The coefficient of friction at the Stiction transition velocity.

Not applicable when calculating dynamic friction only.


Mu Dynamic

The coefficient of friction when the slip speed is greater than

or equal to the Friction Transition Velocity.


Stiction transition

The slip speed at which the maximum coefficient of static

friction is applied. Not applicable when calculating dynamic
friction only.

Friction Transition

The slip speed at with the coefficient of dynamic friction is




Contact Simulation

The Contact Properties dialog box should look like the image below. Click Close to close the dialog box

Step 4: Set Solver Parameters

This step will set the solver parameters to simulate the model.

to open the Run panel.


next to Save as: and enter free_throw in the Select a file dialog box as shown in the previous exercises.

Enter 0.001 as the output Print Interval.

Enter 2.0 as the End Time
Click the Simulation Settings button in the Run panel.
Click the Transient tab in the Simulation Settings dialog.
In the Integrator Tolerance field enter 1.0e-4. This improves the accuracy of the solution for displacements and velocities for
which the error is controlled.
In the Maximum step size: field enter 1.0e-4. This also improves the accuracy of the solution for all states, including those that
do not have error control (e.g., forces, accelerations).
In the DAE index: option, choose 1. This option will compute more accurate velocities to help compute a more accurate contact
Click the check box next to Show advanced parameters.
Click the check box next to Check velocity states to ensure the integration makes sure the velocity states are used for error
Change the Maximum Order to 2. This is helpful to capture discontinuities in solution, like those in a contact simulation.


Contact Simulation

The transient tab of the Simulation Settings dialog should look like the image

Return to the Main tab of the Run panel and click the Run button to launch MotionSolve and run the model.
Step 5: Animate the Results
This step will animate the results.
From the HyperWorks Page Controls toolbar click the

icon to add another page.

Launch HyperView from the client selector.

Open the MotionSolve output .h3d file, and animate the results as shown in previous exercises.
Step 6: Change the Initial Conditions to Make a Basket
Try the following parameters to make a basket without hitting the rim.


Contact Simulation

Initial Velocity






Try the following parameters to make a basket while hitting the rim and backboard.
Initial Velocity








Vehicle Dynamics Through Multi-Body

Dynamics (Students Motorsport)
(This chapter is largely based on material provided by Altair India)

14.1 Introduction
Competitive motorsport at any level is a matter of the final 0.1%. What is meant by that is the winner will be only a faction better
than the person who comes second and any competitive edge gained (even 0.1%) might be the difference between winning and
Vehicle handling can play a crucial role in gaining this edge. The Dynamic events are designed to test the handling characteristics
of the vehicle to the last detail. Clever vehicle handling design stems from strong understanding of vehicle dynamics. Multi-body
dynamics simulation through Motion View and Motion Solve is a strong tool to help students and professionals alike to validate
and test out their vehicle dynamics knowledge and vehicle design.
Tyres And Rubber
Any lecture/presentation/training talking about vehicle dynamics will start with a discussion about tyres. Tyres are the mechanical
link between the vehicle and the road. Every non-aerodynamic force and moment that acts on the vehicle will be through the tyre
and understanding the functioning of tyres is the key in understanding the dynamics of the vehicle.
Tyres are complicated rubber interfaces with the road. Multi-body dynamics, can involve computations of detailed mathematical
models of the tyre. Fortunately we can develop our understanding with simple ideas about the tyre contact patch and later move
on to more complicated mathematical tyre models.
The contact path
Tyres work because of rubber friction. The normal load applied by the weight of the vehicle deforms the rubber. There is a flattened
piece of rubber in contact with the road which is called the contact patch. The contact patch is where all the tyre forces act. The
rubber in contact with the road pushes on the road and static friction between the rubber in the contact patch and the road is
responsible for the tyre force.
Frictional forces have their limits beyond which the rubber would start to slide and a lesser (than peak static friction force) frictional
for will be applied at the contact patch. This is when the vehicle tyres at beyond their limits, slide around and the driver losses
control. The maximum tyre force is also called available tyre grip. For maximum performance it is desirable that the tyre forces
stay at the maximum grip levels while not sliding. When the tyre is sliding the driver has little control over the vehicle and the
maximum force generated is less than the peak force when the contact patch is not sliding.
Friction Circle
It is important to understand that the tyre force produced by friction is resolved into 2 significant components. They are
Longitudinal Force
The force applied in the direction that corresponds to straight ahead for the tyre. This force is responsible for the acceleration
and braking forces that are produced by the tyre.
Lateral Force
The force applied in the direction of the spin axis of the wheel. This force is responsible for the steering (lateral) forces which
enable a vehicle to make a corner or turn.


It is important to note that these are components of the forces so they do not have independent peak (maximum) force values, the
overall force has a peak value at a given vertical load. This implies that if the tyre at a given point of time is producing peak
longitudinal force its peak lateral force producing capacity is very close to zero and vice-versa. More generally, more the lateral

force a tyre is generating the peak longitudinal force comes down.

This can be graphically plotted as a plot of peak lateral force at different longitudinal force values. This plot forms a closed loop and
is popularly known as the tyre friction circle. The tyre is considered to be on the limit when the point corresponding to the current
lateral and longitudinal force produced by the tyre is on the boundary of this loop. If the point is inside it means that there can be
more force (lateral or longitudinal) drawn, and if the point is outside it means that the contact patch is sliding.

Note: Usually the peak longitudinal force at zero lateral force is not the same as peak lateral force at zero longitudinal force. So
the friction circle is more of a friction oval or a friction egg.
Understanding Vehicle Handling
The handling characteristics of the vehicle are also the function of the tyre force limits. If the front tyres reach their limit before
the rear tyres the vehicle will understeer while if the rear tyres approach their limit before the fronts the vehicle will oversteer.
Making the vehicle handle better involves doing 2 major things
Improve the quality of the contact patch to maximise grip available
To maintain a balance between the combined grip levels for the front wheels and the combined grip levels of the rear wheels.
Typically in the design of the student competition vehicle, initially the front suspension of the vehicle is designed separately from
the rear. During this phase half car models (front half and rear half) are built for simulation and focus is on the improvement of
the quality of the contact patch.

Later the front half and the rear half car models are built up as one and the balance of the vehicle is improved.
Wheel Alignment
While designing suspensions there is often talk about wheel orientations. Terms like caster, camber and toe feature often as
referred to during vehicle design. Here is a brief introduction of each term as per Wikipedia
Camber angle is the angle made by the wheels of a vehicle; specifically, it is the angle between the
vertical axis of the wheels used for steering and the vertical axis of the vehicle when viewed from the
front or rear. It is used in the design of steering and suspension. If the top of the wheel is farther out
than the bottom (that is, away from the axle), it is called positive camber; if the bottom of the wheel
is farther out than the top, it is called negative camber.
Toe angle is the symmetric angle that each wheel makes with the longitudinal axis of the vehicle,
as a function of static geometry, and kinematic and compliant effects. This can be contrasted
with steer, which is the anti-symmetric angle, i.e. both wheels point to the left or right, in parallel
(roughly). Positive toe, or toe in, is the front of the wheel pointing in towards the centreline of the
vehicle. Negative toe, or toe out, is the front of the wheel pointing away from the centreline of the
vehicle. Toe can be measured in linear units, at the front of the tire, or as an angular deflection.
Caster angle or castor angle is the angular displacement from the vertical axis of the suspension
of a steered wheel in a car, bicycle or other vehicle, measured in the longitudinal direction. It is the
angle between the pivot line (in a car - an imaginary line that runs through the centre of the upper
ball joint to the centre of the lower ball joint) and vertical. Car racers sometimes adjust caster angle
to optimize their cars handling characteristics in particular driving situations.
Significance Of Wheel Alignment
Wheel alignment determines how the tyre is in contact with the road, hence severely impacts the
quality of the contact patch. All the parameters are equally important but for the purpose of this
document we will talk only of camber.
Camber Effects On Contact Patch
A tyre is designed to run perfectly vertical with respect to the road. This is usually the situation when maximum grip is available.
Any tilt in the tyre will reduce the grip. How much the grip will reduce by is a function of the tyre design and construction.
The reason for this is that the upright tyre has a uniform contact patch, in other words the pressure distribution in the deformed
area is uniform. This ensures a large portion of the rubber is in contact with the surface and most of the rubber is producing static
friction. When the pressure in the contact patch is uneven as the tyre nears the limits of its grip levels, some portion of the contact
patch that is experiencing low pressure will start sliding, lowering grip levels.


Therefore it is safe to conclude that it is in the best interest of the designer to keep the camber at zero irrespective of the
suspension travel. It is important to understand that is with respect to the road and not the chassis.
Camber Change With Wheel Travel
Depending on your suspension geometry, camber of the wheel will tend to change with wheel travel. Understanding this is one of
the key aspects to understanding vehicle suspension design. Multi-body Dynamics simulations through Motion View and Motion
Solve can be a powerful tool to visualise, analysis and optimise the change in camber along with other suspension parameters.
The suspension can be thought of a kinematic mechanism where the wheel is one of the links. The chassis is the ground body and
all observations are made with respect to the chassis, making it easy to visualise. For this the concept of Instant Centres must be
Instantaneous Centre (IC)
Instantaneous Centre (sometimes called Instant Centre) is a more general concept but with respect to suspension design it is the
virtual point about which the wheel appears to rotate with respect to the chassis when there is wheel travel (Suspension moves
up or down).
The instantaneous centre (IC) is the location found by the virtual intersection of the suspension links when projected on to a two
dimensional plane. The suspension when projected on to the two dimensional plane rotates about this location.
The front view instantaneous centre is the virtual intersection of the suspension links when projected onto the front view plane.
Therefore for an observer sitting in the chassis the wheel will appear to rotate about the Instant Centre as it moves up or down
due to suspension travel.
It is important to remember that for most suspension types the IC keeps moving around with suspension travel and is not constant.
Also, if the two suspension links are parallel the IC is at infinity and there will be no rotation of the wheel with respect to the chassis
with wheel travel.

The rotation of the wheel with respect to the chassis directly affects the orientation of the wheel with respect to the road. Then the
vehicle hits a bump both the wheels travel up together with respect to the chassis and when the vehicle rolls one side moves up
and the other moves down. As these movements happen, the camber of the wheel changes with respect to the road. The plot of
the camber with respect to the road verses vehicle roll and wheel travel in bump are popularly known as Camber Curve.
Demonstration Of Effects Of The Camber Curve
First let us consider the situation where the suspension is designed such that the Instant centre is at infinity. This means that the
camber gain in bump is zero. That is, when the wheel moves up and down with respect to the chassis the wheel still stays upright.
In this situation let us look at the situation where the vehicle is braking. Braking causes the vehicle to pitch forward (dive). Its easy
to notice this while driving any car or while observing a car come to a stop. This pitching causes the body or the chassis of the
vehicle to dip in the front. This lowering of the chassis with respect to the wheels will cause the wheel to rotate about the IC, but
since the IC is at infinity there is no rotation and hence no camber gain.


This is a very desirable situation. The car is optimised in terms of camber gain to handle braking manoeuvres, the wheels stay
upright, the contact patch is still flat on the road and maximum longitudinal force is available for breaking.
Now let us consider the same car while cornering. The vehicle will roll while cornering. This means that with respect to the chassis

one of the wheels will go up and the other down depending on the cornering direction. With respect the chassis the wheel is still
In reality of course the inner tyre does not go below the ground and the outer tyre above, the car chassis is rotated. On the road
the cornering situation looks like this


Both the wheels are not upright with respect to the load. This will reduce the maximum lateral force that the tyres can produce.
The maximum speed at which the vehicle can turn a corner of a certain radius will be lesser than the situation where the wheels
would have been upright.
Suppose we want to design a vehicle which is good at cornering, then we need to make sure that the IC of the suspension would
not be at infinity. We need to make sure that the IC is such that the wheel rotates around an arc relative to the chassis as it
moves up or down.

In this situation during roll the wheels will still stay upright. This is very desirable as now during cornering the wheels can provide
maximum grip. This will greatly improve the maximum speed at which a vehicle can make a corner.

Again, in the roll situation the wheels are actually on the ground and the chassis rotates, so the camber is still zero with respect
to the road. As the next diagram illustrates

Now let us observe what happens if we look at the same suspension configuration during braking and other straight line events.

We observe that now during the braking manoeuvre when the both the wheels move up with respect to the chassis. The wheels
rotate with respect to the chassis such that they maintain the defined arch. This causes the wheels to be tilted with respect to the
road and thereby reducing the maximum available grip in the braking and acceleration.
This means that neither of the 2 suspension configuration is the correct solution and a compromise needs to be found. A parallel
configuration of the control arms will cause the vehicle to perform better in straight line events and the IC close to the centre of
the vehicle will improve the cornering speeds but have an adverse effect on braking performance. The correct compromise is a
designer choice based on a lot of factors which include expected terrain, performance strengths of the car, driver preference, etc.
Multi-Body Dynamics Simulations
Multi-body Dynamics Simulations using Motion View and Motion Solve are a powerful tool to visualise and analyse these suspension
parameters. Camber Curves and other related information can be obtained by running half car simulations on a suspension
models. Roll analysis and ride analysis will give accurate camber cures for both the situations. More information about how to
conduct these simulations is available in the Half Car Analysis user guide.
The example here is just one of the design decisions and trade-offs that need to be made. Many similar trade-off decisions can be
significantly aided by MBD simulations.


Mahek Mody / India talks about vehicle dynamics using Altair MBD tools - with a focus on SAE Supra

In the video below Apoorv Bapat / India talks briefly about suspension (duration of the video 20 minutes)



Baja/FSAE Templates Half Car Models

Multi-body dynamics is a powerful tool that can be used in the development of the vehicle systems like the suspensions, steering
systems and the brake systems. Clear understanding of vehicle dynamics and powerful tools to simulate design ideas and design
experiments can provide the user with the extra competitive edge to its rivals.
This document gives the user a brief introduction to Muti-body dynamics followed by an easy step by step process the user can
follow to model and simulate half car models to observe changes and impact on handling the vehicle can have based on their
design decisions.
Multi-body Dynamics
Multi-body Dynamics based simulations deals with simulations involving large displacements. Multi-body implies that multiple
bodies interact in the simulation. Dynamics implies that the simulations determine the forces and moments acting between
bodies and compute displacements of the bodies based on these and other constraints applied on the bodies.
Motion View in the Hyper Works suit of design tools is the Multi-body Dynamics pre-processor while Motion Solve is the multi-body
dynamics solver. For more information about Multi-body dynamics and other details the Motion View help, reference guide and
tutorials can be used.
The Baja and Formula Student templates available for simulation for Motion View are designed for the use of a user who has
some basic knowledge of kinematics and dynamics of suspension systems. Due to their simplicity and abstraction, the templates
can be used by someone not very conversant with Motion View as a pre-processor but some basic knowledge about the pre
processor will definitely aid the user in having a better understanding and allow the user to explore more detailed advanced
Rigid Body Dynamics
A multi-body dynamics simulation where all the bodies modelled as rigid or inflexible bodies is a rigid body dynamics simulation.
Although Altairs Multi-Body Dynamics simulation products do support modelling of flexible bodies into the simulation, rigid body
simulations are always the starting point.
Vehicle Models in Multi-Dynamics
Vehicle models in Multi-body dynamics involve modelling the different moving components as bodies and the connections
between them as joints or constrains. A detailed look at the templates will show the user how the individual components of the
suspension and steering is modelled. The templates for Baja and FSAE are developed to abstract this information from the user,
but it is always helpful and worthwhile to look at the details to understand the simulation.
Half Car Model
Half car models in terms of Multi-body dynamics involve the modelling of the following sub-systems of the vehicle
Steering (front)
Drive shafts (if driven wheels)
These sub-systems are typically defined by what are called the suspension hard points. These are 3 dimensional coordinates in
space where the different suspension components connect to the chassis, wheels and on another. They define the geometry of
the suspension you choose which eventually determine the kinematics and the dynamics of the suspension systems.
Setting up half car models
The half car models are available as a part of the Baja/FSAE templates that are provided on the Altair Website.


There are 2 options to build a half car vehicle

1. Load the generalised half vehicle model and make modifications to it directly. Changes in suspension type or
steering type are done by replacement.
2. Assemble a half car model by adding the subsystems one by one. This gives the freedom to choose any type of
suspensions from the beginning of the model set-up.
Loading the generalised half vehicle model
On invoking HyperWorks choose the MotionView Client

On successfully loading MotionView, the generalised model can be loaded by clicking on

File Menu > Open > Model

In the file dialog that shows browse to the Baja/FSAE vehicle library you have downloaded and load the file Baja_Front_Half_Car.


If you see the Table Data Error in your simulations please IGNORE them.

This loads the generalised half car vehicles.

You should see a half car model load in the graphics area and in the browser to the left you will see the different sub-systems that
are loaded into the model.

The organisation of the different sub-systems can be seen in the browser. The icon
indicates a sub-system while
an analysis. An analysis is a task performed by the simulation. At a given time only the one task is active (others are greyed out)
and is the one that will be performed when the simulation is run.
The default model loaded is representative of Baja model. Changes can be made to it to make it represent the vehicle the user
has in mind.

Changing the Hard Points

The models in this vehicle library are parameterised. That is, one can change the hard points by editing data at a single place. This

is a data set that is present in each of the sub-systems. It can be accessed by clicking on the [+] button before the system icon and
browsing to the Data Set folder. An example for the suspension sub-system is shown in the screenshot below.

Clicking on this loads the Data Set panel in the panel area. Here the values of the hard points and other parameters can be
changed. The
button at the far right of the panel will pop-out the list of parameters that can be changed. For basic preliminary
simulations changing these parameters only would be sufficient.

Adding/Removing sub-systems
Sub-systems in the vehicle library are interchangeable which means that they can be replaced by other types of the same subsystem. In the example below, the front double SLA suspension is replaced by a push-rod type suspension.
A sub-system can be removed from the model by simply right clicking on the model tree to invoke the context menu and choose

the Delete option.

Subsequently any sub-system can be added into the model using the system import feature of MotionView. This is done by clicking
on and selecting the parent system in the browser which is called MODEL and is at the top of the browser window.
Once this has been selected the Following panel would show up. Navigate to the Import/Export tab.

The import tab allows an external sub-system to be loaded. Browse to the sub-system that is to be included in the sub-system. In
our case that is the Vehicle Library > Suspension > FS Push and Pull Rod > Front_Pushrod_Suspension.mdl.
On clicking the import button a pop-up may appear listing the list of systems in the imported model. Safely select OK and wait for
the model to load.


The model will load at this point. You will see the new sub-system in the graphics area as well as the browser. This new subsystem is not however attached to the other sub-systems. Clicking on the newly added system in the browser window will show
unresolved attachments.

The model is ready for the analysis now.

Choosing an Analysis
The analysis or task to be performed on the vehicle can be chosen by activating the appropriate analysis system, identified by the
icon in the browser. Only one is activated at one time, so to perform one of the deactivated analysis the desired analysis
should be right clicked and the Activate option should be selected in the from the context menu.

This will deactivate the currently active analysis and activate the chosen one.

A new analysis from the Vehicle Library can also be added. By the same process as the one used to add a new sub-system to the
model. The only difference being after the import button being hit Analysis should be chosen as the Select a definition: filter

Proceed to by clicking OK.

Running Simulations
The Run panel that is used to run the solver can be invoked by

button on the MotionView toolbar. Panel looks like this

The first thing to be done before running a simulation is to run the check model utility. This is done by clicking on the check
button on the panel or through the Tools menu. This goes through the model that has been created to spot any obvious error that
might prevent the simulations are running. It is futile to try and run the simulation when check model fails. Errors highlighted by
the check model message box are usually self explanatory. Hit the clear button in the message log is you do not want to see the
previous messages again.
A passed check model Message Log looks like this


After there is a passed check model the next task is to determine the working directory for running the simulations. This is done
by specifying the location of the xml file (solver deck) though the run panel (Save as:). The Run button to the right will not be
enabled until the xml file path is chosen. Navigate though and select a file name. All the solver files including the solution and
results file will be stored in this location with the same file name (and different extensions) as the xml you have chosen.

Once the file is chosen the Run button is enabled and Motion Solve is invoked to solve the model provided.

If MotionSolve sees any errors when the simulation is under process you will see the errors or warnings on the pop up box above.
If everything is fine, the MotionSolve pop up can be safely closed.
Post Processing
Post Processing refers to the processing and interpreting of the results given out by the solver. For MBD post processing is usually
done using Hyper View (Animations) and Hyper Graph (Plots).
In the working directory the solver creates the following files at the end of the simulations
File_name.mrf (HyperGraph)
File_name.abf (HyperGraph)
File_name.plt (HyperGraph)
File_name.h3d (HyperView)
File_name.sdf (Note Pad) [Half Vehicle Models Only]
The animations can be launched and view directly by clicking on the Animate button in the Run panel. This loads HyperView as
a split screen for viewing the animation.


The animation can be viewed easily by hitting the play button in the HyperView tool bar. For advanced options with respect to
animations the HyperView help can be referred.
The Baja templates come with inbuilt output requests that are typically useful for the user.
On hitting the plot button in the MotionView run panel an instance of HyperGraph is loaded with the plot result file loaded. Here
different parameters of interest can be viewed. In the default panel in HyperGraph

The results file is of the form Type, Request and Component (TRC)
The type determines what is being measured
Body Displacements of CG of the different bodies in the simulation.
Marker Displacements Displacement of specified markers on the body
Marker Velocities Velocities of specified markers on the body
Marker Forces Forces at specified markers on the body
Expression User defined Expression that are specified in the model
System System Statistics

Markers can be thought of as points of interest on a Body where displacements and velocities of interest can be measured.
For the templates provided the markers and expression based Output requests are already within the model and need to be
specified by the user. The user can read the description in the Request selection box to understand what is being measured.
Request is the second selection box that is seen on the plotting panel. Here the description of what is being measured is can be
Component Selection Box describes the component (in case of vector quantities) that you want to plot.
By default then the Plot button is clicked the HyperGraph session is loaded with the file_name.abf file loaded in the bar highlighted
below. It is recommended for better understanding of the type request component data the file_name.plt file is to be used. The
data they have is identical but better organised in case of the .plt file.

HyperGraph Templates
For the ease of the user some of the important plots specific to the half car models can be loaded together as a list of pages in
HyperGraph. This is achieved thorough HyperGraph templates. The HyperGraph template specific to the half car models is already
provided with the vehicle library.
To load the template a hyper graph session must be invoked. The template (.tpl file) can be loaded by clicking on the File Menu >
Open > Report Template. Alternatively click on the
icon on the top toolbar. In the file selection dialog that appears choose the
appropriate template from the HyperGraph Templates folder in the vehicle library.
On choosing the .tpl file the following panel is loaded.

Choose the file_name.plt file that is generated in the working directory of the solution directory as PLOT_FILE_1 and hit Apply. This
will load all the appropriate graphs that can be useful for analysis.
Suspension Design Factors
Along with the plots and animation, when a half car simulation is done, Motion Solve writes out a file_name.sdf file. SDF stands for
suspension design factors. This contains a list of numerical suspension characteristics that might be relevant to making design
decisions. These can be viewed easily by opening the .sdf file in a text editor such as Notepad or Textpad.
Documentation and more details about what the different parameters mean and how they are measured is available in HyperWorks
help under the MDL Vehicle Library Reference Guide section.


Sample list of parameters




Baja/FSAE Templates - Full Car Models

The Vehicle Library contains components to build a Baja and FS Car models. The systems needed to build a full car model are
arranged in folders with corresponding names. The Vehicle Library contains following folders
Vehicle Body: It contains four vehicle body systems.
Baja_Vehicle_Body_FullCar, FS_Vehicle_Body_FullCar: To be imported for full car analysis
FS_Vehicle_Body_Halfcar, Baja_Vehicle_Body_Halfcar: To be imported for half car analysis
Suspension: It contains two folders which contain different type of suspension systems for Baja Car and FS Car respectively
and can be used for both half car and full car analysis.
Steering: It contains two Rack and Pinion Steering systems which are same but different in coordinates. Any of them can be
imported and set according to your vehicle. Two same steering exist because they have coordinates set for default Baja and
FS model respectively.
Drive Train: It contains a Cars Differential system which can be set according to your vehicle coordinates.
Tire: It contains two Tire systems
Fiala_HTire_for_Full_Car_Model: To be used with full car models
Vert. Spring Tires_for_Half_Car_Model: To be used with half car models and full car model without Powertrain.
Analysis: It contains various analyses for full, half and full car without Power Train.
Default Templates: The Vehicle Library folder also contains eight default models which contain every systems and analysis
attached with them. These models can be used as reference models.
The process on how to import systems into MotionView is shown in the brief video below (2:30 minutes)

In this Guide we will construct a Full Car Model of Baja car and then we will do a Step Steer Analysis.
Adding Vehicle systems
Adding Analysis

Running Analysis
Adding Vehicle Systems
Open MotionView, Click on Model in project browser, the model panel will be displayed. Go to Import/Export, Check on Import
button then go to Select file and browse to Vehicle Library>Vehicle Body and select Baja_Vehicle_Body_FullCar.mdl.

Click on Import, in the pop window click ok. A system with Body name will be added to the project browser. The vehicle body
data can be set same as your vehicle by changing the Vehicle Body CG point coordinates and mass and moment of inertias of the
Vehicle Body in corresponding Property section. The unit of mass is Kg and unit of moment of inertia is Kg-mm2

Similarly import Front short long arm suspension from Vehicle Library>Suspension>Baja Suspension>Frnt_SLA_Susp_1pc.A
system named as Frnt SLA Susp (1 pc. LCA) will appear in project browser tree. Expand Frnt SLA Susp (1 pc. LCA), in Data Sets
folder there is a dataset named as Vehicle Input Parameters. Open this dataset and edit it according to your Vehicle coordinates.

The mass and moment of inertias of bodys inside Frnt SLA Susp (1 pc. LCA) can be edited as shown in step2.

Again go to same folder and Import Rear_SLA_Susp_1pc. There exist a dataset with same name as in previous step in Rear SLA
Susp (1 pc. LCA) which can be set according to your vehicle coordinates. The mass and moment of inertias of bodys inside Rear
SLA Susp (1 pc. LCA) can be edited as shown in step2.
In the project browser the spring damper properties of Frnt SLA Susp (1 pc. LCA) and Rear SLA Susp (1 pc. LCA) should be set
according to pre load calculation of your Vehicle. There are two systems inside both Frnt SLA Susp (1 pc. LCA) and Rear SLA Susp (1
pc. LCA) namely Frnt Coil Spring and Frnt shock absorber (with inline jts), each of which contains a spring damper whose properties
can be set accordingly. The unit of spring stiffness is N/mm.

Import steering system from Vehicle Library>Steering>Baja_Rackpin_Steering. In a similar manner the steering coordinates can


be set according to your Vehicle editing Steering Input Parameters inside the RackPin steering system in project browser menu.
Import differential from Vehicle Library>Drive Train>Rear_Diff_and_Halfshafts. Differential is by default set to some coordinates
with respect to Rear Wheels CG, You can change the coordinates by manually feeding the coordinates of points.

To add tires Import Tire file from Vehicle Library>Tire>Fiala_HTire_for_Full_Car_Model.

Adding Analysis
In a similar manner Import a step steer analysis select Vehicle Library>Analysis>Full Car Analysis> Step_steer_Analysis, in the
pop window select Analysis from drop down menu in Select a definition field and then click OK.

Before running Analysis right click on Model and Apply Attachment Candidates. This needs to be done in order to attach all the
Some analysis like Single Lane Change has a Steer Controller system inside it which needs the controller data to be set according
to your vehicle. This data can be changed by changing the value in the dataset named as Steer controller data which is in a Data
Sets folder inside the Steer Controller system. The only values which need to be changed are shown inside the red boxes in image

Go to Tools menu and Check Model, in message log window there shouldnt be any error, if error appears than the model will not
run. Some of the general errors are listed in Trouble shooting section.
Running Analysis
In Model-Main Toolbar click on
. In run solver panel click on save as and enter a name to file and click save. Verify that Save
and run current model is checked in.

This exports the MotionView data in an xml file which is an input to the solver deck. After this the Check will be unsuppressed. Click
on Run and the solver window will appear which contains the solution information. After finishing solver generates the output files
in the same folder where the .xml exist.
Trouble Shooting
Check Model failed
--> Possible cause is listed out in the message log, if it is an attachment issue Resolve attachments by Applying
Attachment Candidates.
Static analysis failed
--> Check the spring Pre load value.
--> In run panel change the Integration Tolerance to 0.01 , this generally can occur while using Push rod or Pull rod


--> Check the units of spring pre load value

--> Check the joints and their coordinates at Differential. If some joint is out of wheel it can be a problem.
--> Check Steer controller data.

Another exciting webinar about MBD and student racesport was offered in the context of a Formula Student Workshop (i.e.
workshop for motorsport students) by Jacquelyn Quirk and P. Kiran (Altair UK); 56 minutes


Appendix Postprocessing Basics

15 Introduction In Postprocessing with

HyperView and HyperGraph

HyperView - Animating Results

In this chapter, you will learn how to:

Use some features available for post-processing animation results in HyperView
Control the display of the simulation results using Entity Attributes
The tables below show the animation use-cases and the model and results file types required to animate MotionSolve results.

In order to display a MotionView and a postprocessing window next to

each other, split the screen by making use of the Page Window Layout


Appendix Postprocessing Basics

Then click into the new window and activate e.g. HyperView through the Client selector as shown below.

Left Window: MotionView, Right Window HyperView. Note The Icon Displayed In The Client Selector.

In HyperView the three animation types are available: transient, linear, and modal.
Transient animation displays the model in its time step positions as calculated by the analysis code. Transient animation is used
to animate the transient response of a structure.
Linear animation creates and displays an animation sequence that starts with the original position of the model and ends with
the fully deformed position of the structure. An appropriate number of frames are linearly interpolated between the first and
last positions. Linear animation is usually selected when results are from a static analysis.
Modal animation creates and displays an animation sequence that starts and ends with the original position of the structure.
The deforming frames are calculated based on a sinusoidal function. Modal animation is most useful for displaying mode

Click the Animation Controls icon,

start time, end time of the animation

on the Animation toolbar. From this panel, you can control the parameters like speed,


Appendix Postprocessing Basics

Some helpful postprocessing features are summarized next. Their application is rather straight forward, hence we dont go into
details here. However, you should keep these options in mind while postprocessing and presenting your results

Tracing Entities.
HyperView allows you to trace the path of any moving part while animating.

To turn the tracing off, click the Delete button to remove the selected components from the tracing list. You may use the Display
Options in the right part of the same panel to change the line color and thickness.

Tracking Entities
The Tracking option allows one of the parts of the animation to be fixed to the center of the animation window and the rest of
the parts move relative to the tracked part.

Editing Entity Attributes

The transparent
mode is applied to the wheel,
wheel hub, and lower
control arm.
Quite clearly the components /
structures in the background
become much more visible


Appendix Postprocessing Basics

In the following you will learn how to:

View force and moment vectors from a MotionSolve results file.
Use the collision detection feature
Use the measure panel to extract information from the animation results

Force and Moment Graphics

HyperView allows you to view the change in force and moment in the form of dynamic vectors that represent the magnitude and
direction of the force and moment.
In this brief overview we load the MotionSolve result file front_ride.h3d which is part of the HyperWorks installation (tutorials\

Click on Vector icon,

, on the toolbar.

Select result type to Force, under Display options: select By Magnitude for Size scaling. Force symbols can be scaled by a
user defined factor. Start the animation.
You will see an arrow whose size and direction change dynamically as the simulation is animated from start to end. This arrow
represents the magnitude and direction of force on a body or at a joint as it is specified for force output in the model.
Click on the Clear Vector button to clear the force vector.


Appendix Postprocessing Basics

The Measure Panel

HyperView allows you to measure certain parameters during post processing of the results.

Click on the Measure button,

Under Measure Groups (left side) click on Add to add a Measure Group.
From the measure type pull-down menu select Position. Click on the Nodes button and from the graphic window pick on a point
of your choice. Turn on the check boxes for X, Y and Z.
Click the Create Curves button (located on the right side of
the panel) which opens the Create Curves dialog.

From the Place on drop-down menu select New Plot. For the Y Axis: select Z (vertical displacement) and activate the Live link
check box and finally click OK.
Note The Live link helps you correlate the measured value with the animation. As you animate the current animation model
a small square marker moves on the measured curve to indicate the value of the curve at the corresponding time step of the
Repeat this simple process twice more by selecting Y and X respectively. Depending whether the additonal curves should be
included in the same plot/graph or in a new one the Place option must be set as Existing and New, respectively.

Click the Start/Pause Animation icon,

to start the animating the results. A marker (square symbol) will be displayed on
the plot(s) at the corresponding time step in the simulation.


Appendix Postprocessing Basics


HyperGraph - Plotting Basics

In this tutorial you will learn to:

Import a MotionSolve result (plot) file for plotting curves
Plot multiple curves in a single window
Plot multiple curves in different windows on a single page
Save your work as a session (mvw) file
This all will be accomplished by using HyperGraph.
As in the case of HyperView (animating results) described in the paragraph before, simply select the Client HyperGraph

The Build Plots panel allows you to import plot files that can be plotted in a 2D layout. The panel allows you to control what
curves are to be plotted either in single or multiple windows.


Appendix Postprocessing Basics

In the course of this short tutorial (which refers to MV-6000: Plotting Basics) we

click the Build Plots icon,


, on the toolbar and load from your HyperWorks installation folder (\tutorials\mv_hv_hg\
the file Demo.plt

This file contains several curves.

Confirm that Time is selected under X Type:.
For Y Type: click on Displacement to select it.
The Y Request text box displays the data available in the file.

Press CTRL button on the keyboard and click on REQ/70000006 and REQ/70000007
(or left-click and drag the mouse to select both REQ/70000006 and REQ/70000007)

Select X under Y Component

Then set Layout as one plot per Component.
Two curves (because of the Y Requests) are plotted in the plot window, each with its own line type and color. The legend
identifying the curves is located in the upper right hand corner of the plot.


Appendix Postprocessing Basics

Build Multiple Curves On Multiple Plots Using The Plot File

In this step you will select multiple curves and plot them in multiple windows.

Stay in Build Plots panel.

Leave Time selected under X
Leave Displacement selected under Y Type
Leave REQ/70000006, and REQ/70000007 selected under Y Request (Up to here the selection/setting corresponds to the
steps from before)

Press CTRL and under Y Component: select X, RX, MAG and RMAG.
Select One plot per Component from the Layout pull down menu located in the lower left corner of the panel (see above). This
selection creates one plot for every request selected under Y component. There will be four plots created. You could have one
page for each plot. However, in the course of this exercise we are goin to plot all four plots on the same page.

Hereto we need to define a corresponding Page Layout, located next to the Show Legends check box.

Select the four window layout option

A second page is added to the page list with four windows and the plots you requested.

This second page can be accessed by clicking on the arrow pointing to the right


Appendix Postprocessing Basics

MultiPle Plots With Multiple Curves Created Using Build Plots Panel

To Save This Work Session

You can save your work with multiple curves in multiple windows on multiple pages as a session file. A session allows later
retrieval either for display, printing, or to continue adding more information. The session file is a script with the extension .mvw.
The contents of an .mvw file are all the information in the program that gets recorded in the script file.

Note To save a session as a script file with curve data: select the Options

panel icon from the Annotations toolbar,

and activate the Save All Curve Data To Script File check box (located on the Session tab).

Then from the File menu, select Save As > Session, provide a file name e.g. Demo1.mvw (confirm that Session (*.mvw) is
selected from the Save as type drop-down menu).
Thats all it takes.
For more tutorials regarding HyperGraph, please review your installation (Help Documentation):


Appendix Postprocessing Basics

The HyperGraph tutorial model files are located in <install_directory>/tutorials/mv_hv_hg.

Plotting Basics
HG-1000: Plotting XY Data
HG-1010: Changing Curve Display Attributes
HG-1020: Modifying Plots
HG-1030: Referencing and Filtering Curves

Advanced Curve Manipulation

HG-2000: Evaluating Curve Data
HG-2010: Creating a Plot Macro

More Plotting
HG-3000: Working with Bar Charts
HG-3010: Working with Complex Plots
HG-3020: Working with Polar Plots

HG-4000: Creating an Export Template

HG-5010: Customizing the Environment


Appendix Postprocessing Basics


HyperView Collision Detection

HyperView allows you to view and detect collisions between the graphic objects of the current animation model during
Select Tools tool bar from View >Toolbars > HyperView > Tools to display collision detection toolbar.

Using Collision Detection

To access the panel shown below, click on the Collision Detection button
from the Tools menu.

on the Tools toolbar, or select Collision Detection

Collision Detection Panel

Option Highlights
Collision Sets

The collision sets defined for the current model are listed in the Collision Sets list.
A collision set is activated, or deactivated, using the radio button.
Activating the Clear Collision Detection option clears the contour for the collision detection results, and
deactivates all of the collision sets listed.
Each collision set is defined by two groups, A and B. A group can contain more than one component.


Appendix Postprocessing Basics


The Components input collector allows you to select the components that you want to add to the
existing groups. Once the components are selected, click the appropriate Add to Group button to add
the component to a specific group.


Check Enable proximity checking to allow the objects to be detected at the distance specified in the
Minimum Distance field.
If Enable proximity checking is unchecked, the objects will collide at their actual collision point and will
be displayed in the color red.

Animation Event

These options allow you to define how the objects animate with respect to the collision point.

(fifth column)
Ignore Collisions

Continuous animation, which ignores the collision point.

Stop on Collision

Animation stops when a collision is detected.

Stop on Proximity

Animation stops when a defined proximity violation is detected.

Click the Add button in the leftmost column under Collision Sets to add a new collision set.
Under the Selection options (second column) click on the Components button and pick the component of interest (here:
Trunk, green) by clicking on it in the Graphics window.
Click the Add to Group A button (third column)
Click Components again and pick the other component of
interest (here: car body, blue).
Click the Add to Group B button.
Under the Proximity section (fourth column), click Enable
Proximity checking and specify 1 as the Minimum Distance for
the proximity check.
Under the Show result by (fourth column) section select Elements by
clicking on the radio button next to it.
Click Apply.

Click the Start/Pause Animation icon

to start the animation. The animation begins. Whichever areas of the trunklid
collide with the trunk (car body), the colliding elements turn red. The color yellow indicates proximity. When neither proximity
nor collision is detected, the bodies retain their natural colors.


Appendix Postprocessing Basics

Click on Summary below to get a text summary of the penetration.


Appendix Case Studies


Case Studies

Annotation: The Case Study Simulating The Suspension Response Of A High Performance Sports Car may not really fit in this
book for beginners of MBD. However, despite the fact that the Case Study was published 2007 it provides a nice glimps into what
becomes more and more standard in CAE - The combination of simulation and optimization tools to enhance the design process.


Simulating The Suspension Response Of A High Performance Sports Car

Paul Burnham, McLaren Automotive, McLaren Technology Centre, Chertsey Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 4YH

The use of CAE software tools as part of the design process for mechanical systems in the automotive industry is now commonplace.
This paper highlights the use of Altair HyperWorks to assess and then optimize the performance of a McLaren Automotive front
suspension system. The tools MotionView and MotionSolve are used to build the model and then carry out initial assessments of
kinematics and compliance characteristics.
Altair HyperStudy is then used to optimize the position of the geometric hard points and compliant bush rates in order to meet
desired suspension targets. The application of this technology to front suspension design enables McLaren Automotive to
dramatically reduce development time.
McLaren are renowned for engineering excellence in both Formula 1 racing cars and also high performance supercars. The
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is the latest example of the breed, combining race-car performance with Mercedes levels of comfort
and safety. When developing new models, McLaren Automotive is subject to the same pressures as the rest of the industry to
develop systems quickly and cost-effectively, and so the increasing use of CAE tools is inevitable. This paper gives a brief insight
into some tools used for suspension geometry optimization.
Traditionally only kinematic analysis has been used early in the design of suspension geometry, with compliant effects being
considered during vehicle development. However, with an increasing requirement to shorten development times and improve the
end product, there is now a need to perform simulations early in the design phase to obtain the optimum solution with minimal onvehicle testing. For this reason it is necessary to include suspension compliance effects in simulation from the start of a project.
At McLaren the main vehicle dynamics simulation software has been developed in-house primarily for Formula 1 use. This
software is very applicable to road cars of the type designed by McLaren Automotive since they share many attributes such as
double wishbone suspension and significant aerodynamic forces with their Formula 1 race car cousins. However, the road car
market adds another layer of requirements such as the effect of rubber bushes on suspension kinematics. For this reason it was
necessary to find another tool which could include the effects of suspension compliance characteristics in suspension simulations
and which could help optimize bushing characteristics to achieve the required performance targets.
This paper describes how Altair MotionView [1] and Altair MotionSolve [2] were used to build a front suspension model. The
kinematics and compliance of the model were then assessed as well as the bump, roll and steer characteristics. Once the baseline
assessment was completed the bush rates and hard point positions of the suspension system were then optimized using Altair
HyperStudy [3] in order to optimize the suspension characteristics.

Modeling, Solution And Results Output Process

Model and Task Assembly Wizards
McLaren have used the Assembly Wizard available in Altair MotionView to allow the user to choose from various suspension
topologies and to assemble the components easily into a model. Bespoke McLaren libraries have been created for both assemblies

Appendix Case Studies

and analysis tasks to allow very quick creation of the complete analysis model. An example model is shown in Figure 1.
Once the model is defined, the task wizard is used to define analysis events. In this study the events of interest were kinematics
and compliance, roll, steer and vertical bump. Each of these events can be analysed in isolation or combined into a single analysis.

Figure 1: Sample Kinematic And Compliance Model

The model was analysed using Altair MotionSolve which can run directly from MotionView. This enables any model changes that
are required to be quickly made and then evaluated instantly using the integrated solver. A number of standard outputs have been
integrated into the McLaren model libraries; these provide a variety of typical suspension outputs such as toe angle, camber angle,
kingpin inclination, scrub radius and trail as well as roll centre positions, roll centre migration during wheel travel and anti-lift /
anti-dive. These outputs are available for post processing and also to be used as targets or constraints in the following optimization
The advantage of having the outputs built into the model is that they are defined in a standard way, so all users will be working
to the same standards. It is also straightforward for users to visualise the model behaviour using HyperView or add extra outputs
for post-processing if required. The process of setting up the model wizard and task wizard took around 2 man weeks of effort.

Results Output For Kinematics And Compliance, Roll, Steer And Vertical Bump
Post Processing
Altair HyperWorks also includes the post processing capabilities of Altair HyperView and Altair HyperGraph which can be used to
look at animations and xy plots of the suspension performance. As noted above, various outputs of interest were considered in
order to assess the performance of the system such as Ackermann, camber, castor and toe. Typical result outputs obtained from
the baseline model are shown in Figures 2 and 3:


Appendix Case Studies

Figure 2: Example Results Output For Steer Analysis (Sample Geometry)

Figure 3: Example Results Output For Bump Analysis (Sample Geometry)

At this stage the results from the non-compliant simulation can be overlaid with the compliant results so that the effect of including
the compliant bushes can be visualised.


Appendix Case Studies

Optimization Of Suspension Characteristics

Optimization Setup
The traditional route to optimising suspension characteristics was a large amount of experience to determine targets, combined
with a large amount of on-vehicle testing of different options to determine the preferred characteristics. There is still a significant
requirement for experience to determine targets although CAE tools can also assist in this process at McLaren the in-house
dynamic simulation software and driving simulator are aggressively used to help determine targets at an early stage. However, the
software has some limitations in the areas of suspension compliant effects due to its F1 roots so Altair MotionView / MotionSolve
is used to convert system targets into design targets for individual components. This means that the ability to include road
interactions is not required and MotionSolve is an ideal tool.
Obviously it is possible to manually iterate the positions of suspension pick-up points and stiffnesses of bushes but with such a
large number of degrees of freedom it is not straightforward to find an optimum solution. For this reason the optimization and DOE
(Design of Experiments) module of HyperStudy was employed to provide a logical approach to finding the best solution. This allows
the specification of a number of design variables, which are the parameters in the design which can be changed, and constraints
and objectives to be met during the iteration process. Initially some simple models were created to test the optimization process,
such as optimising the universal joint positions and orientations in a steering column to achieve the least variation in steering
ratio, see Figure 4.

Figure 4: Simple MBD Model For Optimization

This was very easy to set up and worked well but clearly there is little point in optimising one characteristic unless you also consider
the other effects of your changes. For this reason when considering the complete suspension performance it was necessary to
include all of the following analyses with their respective outputs:
Bump Analysis
Outputs of bump steer, camber curve, motion ratio etc.
Roll Analysis
Outputs of roll centre height, roll centre migration etc.
Steer Analysis
Outputs of Ackermann, steering ratio etc.
Kinematic And Compliance (K & C) Analysis
Outputs of compliant response to contact patch forces etc.

Appendix Case Studies

Using HyperStudy it is possible to include several models as part of the optimization process and consider different outputs from
each model. Of course it is also necessary to ensure that the design variables are applied to every model in the same way so that
all the models are at the same design condition. In HyperStudy this can be achieved by linking the design variables. Using the
models together for every iteration has resulted in a run time of around 15 minutes per iteration (on a single high-spec PC), which
is acceptable for running jobs overnight (note, this was 2007)
In this particular case, the design variables were primarily the suspension hardpoints and the bush stiffnesss. It is clearly
necessary to determine sensible limits on the hardpoints to allow them to move only an amount which could actually be feasible
in reality, and the bush stiffnesss between rational values which would be practical for a production vehicle.
Clearly the bush stiffnesss also have an effect on NVH though for this first attempt at a suspension optimization only quasi-static
suspension characteristics were assessed, and bush stiffness effects on NVH were only considered through specifying a maximum
bush stiffness. A further development at a later date will be to include a higher-frequency dynamic analysis in the optimization to
directly assess the effect of bush stiffness on noise transfer paths.
Defining the targets and constraints is one of the most complicated tasks in the optimization. With a suspension system there
are a large number of degrees of freedom and whilst it may be desirable to include many constraints in the process, in reality this
tends to over-constrain the model and no solution can be found. A typical list of constraints might be as follows: (values changed
for reasons of confidentiality)

Table 1: Typical List Of Constraints

The desired objective was a specified bump steer curve. This was converted to a response metric by performing a least squares
fit between the actual response and the desired response.
Optimization Results
In theory it would be ideal to include all the desired suspension performance metrics and constraints and simply let the optimiser
work away until the optimum solution was found. However, in reality a compliant suspension system is a system with a great many
degrees of freedom and the solution surface is a very complex one with many local minima. Tests to try and include many design
variables and constraints at once have tended to result in local solutions which are not the global optimum. In addition the time
taken to process these optimizations is far too large due to the number of permutations which the optimiser has to consider.
Another problem seen is that when trying to optimise suspension bush stiffnesss, it is necessary to have some limitation on the
maximum stiffness permitted or the optimiser will often tend to simply maximise the bush stiffnesss, particularly if the objective is
to minimise some displacement. A better approach has been seen to be to fix one bush stiffness and optimise the other stiffnesss
to match it and provide a balanced response from the whole system, or at least to set the objective to be a finite value of a
response rather than just minimising a displacement.
As previously discussed, another good way to prevent the optimiser maximising bush stiffnesss would be to have a penalty
function which tends to promote the reduction of bush stiffnesss, so that a suitable compromise can be found. One example
would be to include a higher-frequency dynamic analysis and to target a specific modal frequency or transfer path gain. This will
be attempted in the future.


Appendix Case Studies

To date better results have been found from using some manual intervention to iterate the design to a point which is close to
the desired performance and then using HyperStudy to perform detail sensitivity analysis to small changes in the design space.
HyperStudy is still a very useful tool for performing these local optimizations and since there are fewer variables and constraints
the problem is a much easier one to define and solve.
Because of this the optimization was split into 3 parts, with the HyperStudy sensitivity analysis being used to determine which
were the primary effects at each stage (if it is not obvious). The 3 parts were:
Optimization of hardpoints to give required kinematic results (non-compliant)
Eg. Separate optimizations of steering rack position to give desired steering performance, wishbone positions to give
desired roll centre and migration characteristics
Inclusion of compliant effects and optimization of bush stiffnesss
Re-optimization of hardpoints to account for changes due to compliant effects
One example of the performance before and after the optimization is shown in Figure 5 below.

Figure 5: Performance Before And After The Optimization

The Altair MotionView, MotionSolve and HyperStudy suite of tools have proven to be very useful for the design and optimization
of suspension systems. The ease of designing bespoke wizards for model creation has been beneficial and the post-processing
tools have enabled quick and straightforward visualisation of the results once the templates have been created once.
The optimization tools available in HyperStudy make simple optimizations such as single pick-up point optimizations much faster
than manual iteration, and with some thought and experimentation it is possible to obtain good results from more complex
optimizations including several design variables and constraints.
However, more work is required to successfully complete a single analysis which will include all the suspension performance
requirements in one optimization. This work will be continued.


Appendix Case Studies

[1] MotionView Version 8.0, Altair Engineering Inc., 2006.
[2] MotionSolve Version 8.0, Altair Engineering Inc., 2006
[3] HyperStudy Version 8.0, Altair Engineering Inc., 2006

On a somewhat related note you may be interested in the free webinar

Optimizing Vehicle Suspension Design

Note: Even though the Webinar is free, you are requested to login in to our Resource Library.



17 Glossary
Applied Kinematics, Kurt Hain
Modern Control Engineering, Katsuhiko Ogata
Mechanism Design: Analysis and Synthesis, Volume 1, A.G.Sandor, G.N.Erdman
Advanced Mechanism Design: Analysis and Synthesis, Volume 2, A.G.Sandor, G.N.Erdman
Design of Machinery, An Introduction to the Synthesis and Analysis of Machines and Mechanisms , Robert L. Norton
Handbook of Numerical Applications, Jaroslav Pachner
The table below, is a convenient way to summarize the types of analyses, the data required for each, the principles involved in
finding the solutions, and the types of results that can be calculated.



Formulae for the Moments of Inertia

In these days of 3D CAD, we often pay little attention to the geometric and mass properties of the bodies were working with. Most
CAD packages can quickly and accurately give you these properties even for complicated shapes.
However this reliance on CAD calculations often leads to mistakes which can critically affect the analysis. The most common
mistake is to forget that the Moments of Inertia are strongly orientation dependent. A moments reflection will remind you that this
is only to be expected, since Mass Moments of Inertia are related to angular acceleration by
T = Ia
where T is the torque, I is the moment of inertia and a is the angular acceleration. Which Moment of Inertia should be chosen
depends on the axis of rotation.
The equations for the mass Moments of Inertia are

The radius of gyration is given by

When you build a model, its useful to run a first analysis with approximate bodies cylinders, boxes, etc. both to reduce
computation time and to verify that the range that the properties lie in is acceptable to the Solvers default settings.
The Moments of Inertia of some primitives are listed below. All the values are about the center of gravity. Refer to any text on
Statics for details see, for example, Theoretical Mechanics by P.F.Smith and W.R.Longley. Note that the units are mass*length2.
In SI units, therefore, the mass moment of inertia would be in kg-m2.
Mass moments of inertia should not be confused with the area moments of inertia, used for example in the formulae for beam
bending. The area moment of inertia uses a different formula, and has the units m4.
Cylinder With Open Ends
The z axis is along the axis of the cylinder. The x and y axes are any diameters.

where m is the mass, r1 is the inner diameter, r2 is the outer diameter, and h is the height.



Solid Sphere

where m is the mass and r is the radius.


where m is the mass, and h, d and w are the dimensions along the 3 principal directions. The origin of the 3 axes is at the center
of mass of the cuboid.



Common Coefficients of Friction

Friction coefficients are extremely sensitive to the presence / absence of lubrication, as well as to other factors like the pressure
between the surfaces, surface finish, etc. The values in this table should be treated with corresponding care. Several websites
provide similar information (see, for instance, which are
useful for preliminary design. For further analyses, nothing beats lab tests.