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7, 251-255

Available online at http://pubs.sciepub.com/ajme/1/7/20

Science and Education Publishing

DOI:10.12691/ajme-1-7-20

Darina Hroncova*, Miroslav Pastor

Department of applied mechanics and mechatronics, Technical University of Koice / Faculty of mechanical engineering, Koice,

Slovakia

*Corresponding author: darina.hroncova@tuke.sk

Received October 17, 2013; Revised October 31, 2013; Accepted November 22, 2013

Abstract The work shows the use of SimMechanics for modeling of mechanical systems. As an example a

mechanical model of one degree of freedom is solved by this toolbox for the Matlab/ Simulink environment. This

paper describes how to simulate the dynamics of mechanical system with SimMechanics. Mechanical systems are

represented by connected block diagrams. Unlike normal Simulink blocks, which represent mathematical operations,

or operate on signals, physical modeling blocks represent physical components in SimMechanics, and geometric and

kinematic relationships directly. This is not only more intuitive, it also saves the time and effort to derive the

equations of motion. SimMechanics models, however, can be interfaced seamlessly with ordinary Simulink block

diagrams. This enables the user to design e.g. the mechanical and the control system in one common environment.

Keywords: SimMechanics, simulation, mechanical system, Oscilator, Equation of the Motion

Cite This Article: Darina Hroncova and Miroslav Pastor, Mechanical System and SimMechanics

Simulation. American Journal of Mechanical Engineering 1, no. 7 (2013): 251-255. doi: 10.12691/ajme-1-7-20.

and Actuator blocks. They are the interface to standard

As already mentioned, the SimMechanics blocks do not Simulink models [6].

directly model mathematical functions but have a definite Actuator blocks transform input signals in motions,

physical - mechanical meaning. The block set consists of forces or torques. Sensor blocks do the opposite, they

block libraries for bodies, joints, sensors and actuators, transform mechanical variables into signals.

constraints and drivers, and force elements. Besides

simple standard blocks there are some blocks with

advanced functionality available, which facilitate the 2. The Mechanism Example

modeling of complex systems enormously. An example is

Some of the features of SimMechanics will now be

the Joint Actuator with event handling for locking and

shown on an example. Figure 1 shows the mechanical

unlocking of the joint. Modeling such a component in

system of interest. It is mechanical system with one degree

traditional ways can become quite difficult. The machine

of freedom. It consists of a mass m attached to a ground

is assembled automatically at the beginning of the

simulation [6]. which slides on a smooth horizontal plane.

All blocks are configurable by the user via graphical Mass m is attached to ground with a linear spring/

damper system with the spring stiffness k and the damping

user interfaces as known from Simulink. The option to

coefficient b. The system has one translational degree of

generate or change models from Matlab programs with

freedom, q1 = x. The equations of motion for that

certain commands is not implemented yet. It might be

mechanism can be derived by Hamiltons, Lagrange

added in future releases. It is possible to extend the block

equations or Newtons second law.

library with custom blocks, if a problem is not solvable

with the provided blocks. These custom blocks can

contain other preconfigured blocks or standard Simulink

S-functions.

Standard Simulink blocks have distinct input and output

ports. The connections between those blocks are called

signal lines, and represent inputs to and outputs from the

mathematical functions. Due to Newtons third law of

action and reaction, this concept is not sensible for

mechanical systems. If a body A acts on a body B with a

force F, B also acts on A with a force F, so that there is

no definite direction of the signal flow. Special connection

lines, anchored at both ends to a connector port have been

introduced with this toolbox. Unlike signal lines, they

cannot be branched, nor can they be connected to standard Figure 1. Mechanical System

252 American Journal of Mechanical Engineering

Equation of the motion of the mechanical system in

axis x [1,2,3]:

m x =

Fr Fd (1)

Where: Fr , Fd reaction forces in the springs and

damping forces of system.

Reaction forces in the springs and damping forces are:

Fr = k . x (2)

Equation of the motion of the mechanical system:

m x + b x + k x =

0 (4)

We obtain equations of motion of the form [7]:

b k

x

= x + x (5)

m m

The aim is to determine the response of the oscillating

system - displacements x=x(t). This, however, requires

solve a system of differential equations. For a mechanical

system with one degree of freedom it is a homogeneous

system of 2nd order linear differential equation with

constant coefficients.

3. Simulink Solution

Figure 4. Kinematics Parameters in Figure Window

The block diagram in Simulink from equation of

motion (5) mechanical system:

American Journal of Mechanical Engineering 253

The widow in Simulink Figure 1 with result parameters Result parameter of the velocity in the form:

in graphical form:

1

v=v(t)

0.5

v [mm/s]

-0.5

-1

-1.5

-2

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

t [s]

Figure 6. Kinematics Parameters in Figure Window

2.5

x=x(t)

2 v=v(t) Result parameter in Simulink - acceleration a(t)

1

a=a(t)

1.5 a=a(t)

x [mm], v [mm/s], a [mm/s2]

0.5

1

0.5 0

a [mm/s2]

0

-0.5

-0.5

-1

-1

-1.5 -1.5

-2

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 -2

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

t [s]

t [s]

Figure 7. Kinematical parameters mechanical system in graphic form Figure 10. Kinematic parameter - acceleration a(t)

M-file for result x(t) in graphic form [4,5]:

4. SimMechanics Solution

The Physical Modeling environment SimMechanics it

makes the task easy [6]. Simulink block diagram shown in

Figure 11 describe model of the mechanism without

writing any equations [8,9]. Let us have a closer look at

the diagram. Obviously, every block corresponds to one

mechanical component. The properties of the blocks can

be entered by double-clicking on them. These are for

example mass properties, dimensions and orientations for

the bodies, the axis of rotation for the rotational joint and

Result parameters in Simulink - displacement x=x(t)

the spring/ damper coefficients for the Spring & Damper

2.5 block. The initial conditions are given directly by

x=x(t)

2 specifying the initial position and orientations of the rigid

1.5

bodies.

Model of the mechanism is so simple, it lacks some

1

important features, though. It is not possible to specify

x [mm]

0

and no data is output to the workspace for further

processing. This can be done by adding Sensor blocks and

-0.5

Joint Initial Condition block [6]. Model which is

-1 functionally completely equivalent to the one in Figure 11

-1.5 is build. It is shown in Figure 11. The Joint Initial

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

t [s] Condition blocks in SimMechanics let the users define

arbitrary initial conditions, and the Joint Sensor blocks

Figure 8. Kinematic parameter - displacement x(t) measure the position, velocity, and acceleration of the two

254 American Journal of Mechanical Engineering

torques transmitted by the joints can be sensed, too. 5

x [mm]

Remarkable are the different types of connectors between 0 x=x(t)

the blocks. It is clearly visible that the input of the Sensor -5

blocks are the special SimMechanics connection lines, 0 5 10 15 20 25 30

while the output are normal Simulink signals. The signal t [s]

from SimMechanics can be conducted to the Simulink velocity v=v(t)

2

v [mm/s]

workspace.

0 v=v(t)

-2

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

t [s]

acceleration a=a(t)

a [mm/s ]

2

2

0 a=a(t)

-2

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

t [s]

Figure 12. Graphical result of the kinematical parameters from

SimMechanics

Figure 11. SimMechanics Block Diagram

American Journal of Mechanical Engineering 255

SimMechanics is an interesting and important add-on to possibility of practical implementation of this solution to

the simulation environment Simulink [6]. It allows to simple equations of motion of a mechanical system in

easily include mechanical subsystems into Simulink Matlab/Simulink and SimMechanics.

models, without the need to derive the equations of

motion. Especially non-experts will benefit from the

visualization tools, as they facilitate the modeling and the Acknowledgement

interpretation of results. SimMechanics is certainly not a

replacement for specialized multibody dynamics software This work was supported by grant project VEGA No.

packages due to the limitations of the physical modeling 1/1205/12 and by project "Research modules for

approach and the restrictions of the Simulink environment. intelligent robotic systems " (IMTS: 26220220141), on the

It is, however, well suited for many practical problems in basis of Operational Programme Research and

education and industry, where Matlab became the standard Development financed by European Regional

language of technical computing. Development Fund.

5. Conclusion References

The paper describes the compilation of the equations of [1] Brepta, R., Pst, L., Turek, F.: Mechanick kmitn, Sobotles,

Praha, 1994.

motion of a mechanical system with one degree of

[2] Grepl, R., Modelovn mechatronickch systm v Matlab

freedom in Matlab/Simulink and by SimMechanics. SimMechanics. Praha, 2007.

The results of all models are of course identical. Figure [3] Juli, K., BREPTA, R., Mechanika II.dl, Dynamika, SNTL, Praha,

8, Figure 9 and Figure 10 shows the result of the 1987.

simulation. Results are shown graphically. The calculation [4] Karban, P., Vpoty a simulace v programech Matlab a Simulink,

Computer Press, Brno, 2006.

is done for a model in Matlab/Simulink, to illustrate the

[5] Kozk, ., KAJAN, S., Matlab - Simulink I, STU, Bratislava, 2006.

methodology and in SimMechanics. [6] Schlotter, M., Multibody System Simulation with SimMechanics.

In this paper, the Matlab toolbox SimMechanics was [7] Zhorec, O., Caban, S., Dynamika, Olymp, Koice, 2002.

introduced, it basic functionalities were shown on an [8] Virgala, I., Frankovsk, P., Kenderov, M., Friction Effect

example. Analysis of a DC Motor. In: American Journal of Mechanical

The contribution of this work is primarily educational, Engineering. 2013. Vol. 1, no. 1 (2013), p. 1-5.

especially in the field of Applied Mechanics and [9] Vittek, J., Matlab pre elektrick pohony, ilina, 1997, 83 p..

Mechatronics. The above procedure presents the

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