Automatic lumped element discretization of curved beams with variable sectional area

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för fysik

Abstract: Calculations on stress, strain and deformation are typically made using finite element methods (FEM). An alternative to this is a rigid bodydynamics approach also called lumped element method (LEM). LEM implements deformation by replacing single rigid bodies with multiple subbodies, which are in turn connected with joints (also called constraints) that allow movement between the sub-bodies. If instead of FEM, a lumped element method is used to simulate deformable objects, sufficient accuracy can be obtained at a much lower cost, complexity-wise. A lumped element method-approach could for example achieve real-time simulationspeed. The purpose of this thesis is to expand upon previous work into LEM, analyzing how the rigid bodies and constraints should be configured to produce accurate results for a wider range of objects. Specifically, beams of varying cross section and curved beam axis, as well as other test cases. The simulated values are compared with the analytic predictions given by Euler-Bernoulli beam theory. These simulations are implemented using the AGX Dynamics physics engine from Algoryx Simulation AB. One intended application area of LEM is crane arms. This motivates the focus on analyzing how LEM behaves when simulating beams, as they represent the most basic version of crane arms. Simulation and testing of full crane objects was unfortunately not accomplished, partly due to a lack of convenient testing data. Further work is needed to confirm that LEM behaves well for these expanded cases as well. In addition to the analysis section above, the purpose is also to implement a pipeline for automatic conversion of a CAD-model to a lumped element version in AGX. Specifically, a CAD-model given in the 3D-modeling software SpaceClaim.

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