Numerical aspects of non-smooth multibody dynamics

Friedrich Pfeiffer, Martin Foerg, Heinz Ulbrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The theory of non-smooth multibody dynamics with unilateral contacts is now well established, for example in terms of measure equations of motion added by complementarities or formulated with the help of differential inclusions. Most researchers today focus on numerical methods for solving these systems, because computing times especially for large systems are a problem. Time-stepping schemes for time-integration, pivoting or iterative algorithms for solving the complementarity problem and the Augmented Lagrangian approach are methods of increasing numerical efficiency for large systems. The paper describes new findings for unilateral multibody systems and discusses two large industrial examples, namely the dynamics of a roller coaster and the behavior of a drop tower featuring hydraulic components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6891-6908
Number of pages18
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Issue number50-51
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2006


  • Augmented Lagrangian
  • Inequality constraints
  • Non-smooth multibody dynamics
  • Time stepping
  • Unilateral contacts


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