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4

Statics and dynamics of rigid bodies

4.1

Static equilibrium equations

The static equilibrium of a rigid body can be imposed by means of equations which state that the
necessary and sufficient conditions are:

R F 0

(4.1)

M*O M O 0

i.e. the vector R , sum of all the active and reactive (i.e. those exerted by the constraints) forces,
must be zero as well as the vector M*O , sum of the moments of active and reactive forces with
respect of a chosen pole O. By separating the above said contributions we obtain

R j F j n R cn 0

M*O j Pj O F j n Pn O R cn k Ck s Ccs 0

(4.2)

where Fj and Ck are external active forces and moments, Rcn and Ccs are the reactive forces and
moments. Static equilibrium conditions for a single rigid body are fully expressed by eqs. (4.2). If a
mechanical system is composed of more than one rigid body, eqs. (4.2) represents only a necessary
condition, i.e. is not sufficient to guarantee the static equilibrium of the system. In this case it would
be necessary:
a) to separate the rigid bodies one from another and apply eqs. (4.2) to every single rigid body
composing the mechanical system;
b) to consider, besides eqs. (4.2), further equilibrium equations concerning the relative mobility
among bodies of the system.

4.2

The principle of virtual work

In the preceding paragraph the static equilibrium conditions have been defined by means of force
and moment balances, following eqs. (4.1). A different approach can be followed, based on energy
considerations, known as virtual work principle, which can be stated as follows:
necessary and sufficient condition for the static equilibrium of a mechanical system, with fixed
constraints and in absence of friction, is that the virtual work performed by active forces and
moments for any virtual displacement is null
For a system with fixed constraints and no friction, composed by rigid bodies, the expression of the
virtual work is

L j F j P j k Ck 0

(4.3)

In eq. (4.3) P j represent the virtual displacements of the points of application of the active
forces Fj only and the virtual rotations of the bodies to which active couples Ck are applied.
In fact, when the point of application of a reaction force is fixed (as in the case of a pin or a clamp)
or when its displacement is orthogonal to the reaction force (frictionless yoke or slider) the work
performed is null. Since the constraints are fixed and frictionless, the work done by any reaction
force/couple is null by definition, so no constraint forces and couples appear in eq. (4.3).
In order to be virtual, displacements and rotations must satisfy the following conditions:
27

to be infinitesimal, even though of an arbitrary size;


to be compatible with the system constraints, i.e. they must not violate the constraint
conditions imposed to the system;
to be reversible, i.e. to be possible in the negative and in the opposite positive sense, with an
assumed sign convention;
to be time independent, i.e. time does not vary as virtual displacements are applied.
Due to the first and second condition, the displacements P j must be tangent to the respective
trajectories. Furthermore, due to the assumed infinitesimal displacements, the system configuration
does not vary with respect to the assigned one. It should also be observed that, if the system is
composed of rigid bodies, the kinematic conditions characterizing the rigid body motions must also
be included in the constraints set. Consequently, the virtual displacement of each rigid body will be
represented by three independent parameters at most (e.g. two displacement components of one of
its points and a rotation).
The virtual work principle is particularly useful to study equilibrium problems of one d.of. systems
when an external applied force/couple is the only unknown, as is frequently the case of mechanisms.
In such a case, solving eq. (4.3), in which all the virtual displacements are expressed as a function
of one free coordinate, allows us to determine the unknown quantity. By subsequently applying the
static equilibrium equations (4.1) or (4.2), the reaction forces can also be obtained.

4.2.1 Application example: rigid beam on rectilinear guides


Let us consider the rigid beam with both ends constrained to rectilinear guides laying in a vertical
plane, whose kinematics has been already studied previously. The beam has mass m and is
subjected to its own weight and to a horizontal force, applied at B as illustrated in fig. 4.1, whose
value has to be calculated by imposing the static equilibrium condition of the beam itself.

Fig. 4.1

If the static equilibrium equations (4.1) are used, the reaction forces exerted in A and B by the
constraints have to be included as unknowns. By applying the principle of virtual work the only
forces to be considered are the beam weight and the force FB , since the work done by the reaction
forces HA and VB is null. Then, by applying the principle, we have:

FB s B mg s c 0
where s B , s c are the virtual displacement vectors of points B and C respectively. By executing the
dot products and by indicating with xB (positive if directed to the right) the displacement of point B
and with yC (positive if directed upward) the vertical component of the displacement of point C, we
obtain
28

FB xB mg yC 0

in which the negative signs are due to the forces being opposite to the displacements. The
coordinate xB of point B can be expressed as xB L cos( ) and the coordinate yC of the centre of
L
gravity C as yC sin , so that, also following the derivation rules, we obtain the
2
expressions of the virtual displacements of points C and B in the directions of the forces
respectively applied to these points
xB L sin
L
cos
2
By substituting in the virtual work expression we have the expression
L
FB L sin mg cos 0
2
and finally, after simplification, the modulus of the force FB is
mg
FB
2 tan

yC

4.2.2 Application example: slider crank mechanism


In the one d.o.f. mechanism illustrated in Fig. 4.2 the value of the torque Mm has to be calculated in
order to have the static equilibrium conditions when a force Fr is applied to the slider, as shown. To
this purpose, let us apply the principle of virtual work.

Fig. 4.2

By indicating with the virtual rotation of the crank (positive if clockwise) around O, the
application of the virtual work principle leads to the general expression:
Lk M m Fr s B 0
The virtual displacement of point B corresponds to an infinitesimal variation c of the distance
between O and B following the rotation of the crank. This variation can be indicated as:
s B ci
where i is the unit vector indicating the positive direction of x axis. Solving the scalar products, by
observing that Mm is opposed to and Fr is opposed to the crank displacement, we obtain the
equation:
Lk M m Fr c

The relationship between the virtual rotation of the crank and the variation c of the distance OB
can be determined as follows. Let us first consider the expression of the position vector (B-O); by
using complex numbers representation of vectors in a plane we have
B O rei bei

29

which, projected on the x,y axes, leads to the scalar expressions


r sin b sin 0
r cos b cos c
By deriving with respect to time we obtain
r cos b cos 0
r sin b sin c
The second expression represents the slider speed, i.e. the variation of distance OB with respect to
time. From the first expression we can express the angular speed of the rod as a function of
r cos

b cos
By substituting in the second equation, the slider speed is given by
c r sin cos tan
i.e. by the product of the angular speed of the crank and a function of the crank rotation,
since the angle can easily be expressed in terms of . From the result obtained above we also
obtain the relationship between the virtual displacement c and the virtual rotation

c r sin cos tan


By substituting in the expression of the virtual work we have
Lk M m Fr 0

for any value of thereby obtaining the expression of the torque


M m Fr r sin cos tan Fr

4.3

dAlembert principle and dynamic equilibrium equations

In this paragraph we will be dealing with the equations expressing the dynamic behaviour of
mechanical systems, illustrating the relationship between the motion of a system and the forces
applied to it. As for the static equilibrium study, two approaches can be followed to analyze the
dynamic behaviour of mechanical systems, i.e.
1) dAlembert equations (or dynamic equilibrium equations), which can be considered as
corresponding to those expressing the static equilibrium equations;
2) Energy approach, which can still consist in the application of the virtual work principle,
including also the work done by the so called inertia forces, or in the application of the
power balance equation. This approach will be illustrated in Chapte 4.4.
The inertial characteristics of the system play a fundamental role in the relationship between forces
and resulting accelerations; therefore, every notion illustrated in Chapter 3 related to mass geometry
will be used.
In what follows the dynamic of a particle will be considered first, subsequently extending the study
to a rigid body or to systems of rigid bodies. The two approaches will be dealt with in separate
paragraphs.

4.3.1 dAlembert principle: dynamic equilibrium of a particle


In the case of a particle of mass m, Newtons law states that the particle acceleration vector depends
on the resultant of all the acting forces, (active and reactive, i.e. those due to constraints):

ma

30

(4.8)

By defining as force of inertia the vector

Fin ma
the equation of motion of the particle can be written in terms of dynamic equilibrium

+ Fin 0

(4.9)

(4.10)

which has the same form of a static equilibrium equation. We can in this way handle a dynamic
problem as if it were a static problem, on the condition that we add to the applied forces (active and
reactive) a fictitious force, called force of inertia. This statement, represented mathematically by eqs.
(4.9) and (4.10), constitutes the dAlembert principle for a massive particle. The application of this
principles is much more meaningful and useful from the engineering point of view when dealing
with rigid bodies and rigid body systems, as shown further on.

4.3.2 dAlembert principle: dynamic equilibrium of a rigid body


Let us consider now a very simple rigid body composed by two particles of masses m1 and m2,
constrained to move on a plane while keeping a constant distance to one another, i.e. the modulus
P2 P1 of the vector joining the two particles must be constant (see Fig. 4.3a).

Fig. 4.3a

The dynamics of a plane rigid motion already considered in a previous chapter dealing with
kinematics of a rigid body can now be examined by using this particular rigid body. Let the absolute
accelerations of the two particles be a1 and a2 respectively. By applying dAlembert principle as
previously seen, for he dynamic equilibrium we must have:
(4.10a)
F k m1a1 m2a2 0
This equation can be put in a very meaningful form, of general usage. The coordinates xG , yG of the
centre of gravity G of this system are given by (see eq. (3.1)):
m j x j m1 x1 m2 x2
xG
m1 m2
mj
(4.10b)
m j y j m1 y1 m2 y2

yG
m
m1 m2
j
By deriving twice with respect to time, the previous system becomes
m j x j m1x1 m2 x2

xG
m1 m2
mj

yG

m y

m
j

m
y m2
y2
1 1
m1 m2
31

(4.10c)

thus obtaining that the sum of the forces of inertia relative to each particle equals a force of inertia
due to the acceleration of the centre of gravity G multiplied by the total mass m of the body.
mxG m1
x1 m2
x2
myG m1
y1 m2
y2

(4.10d)

This is the result we would obtain by supposing that both particles occupy the position of the centre
of gravity G. Eqs. (4.10b,c,d) represent the so called motion of the gravity centre principle.
As a consequence of this, eq. (4.10a) can be written in a general form

maG F k + Fin

(4.10e)

valid for any rigid body of mass m and centre of gravity G. Like eq. (4.10) for a particle, also eq.
(4.10e) states that the dynamics of a rigid body can be regarded as a static equilibrium problem if
we add to the forces (active and reactive) applied to the body itself a fictitious force (the force of
inertia) Fin=maG, to be considered also as a supplementary applied external force. As already said
for the static situation, eq. (4.10e) is necessary but not sufficient to guarantee equilibrium conditions;
for a rigid body equilibrium to rotation must be also kept into account. In Fig. 4.3b the same two
particles rigid body of Fig. 4.3a is assumed in Fig. 4.3b to undergo to a translation and rotation
motion, with an acceleration of its centre of gravity of cartesian components
xG ,
yG (dotted lines)
(dotted curve).
along x,y axes and an angular speed and acceleration ,

Fig. 4.3b

For the sake of simplicity, to express the accelerations of the two particles the relative motion with
respect to the centre of gravity has been considered, to which the acceleration of the centre of
gravity itself has to be added in order to obtain their absolute values. The forces of inertia
m1a1 , m2a 2 are represented in Fig. 4.3b by their components, each one opposed to the
correspondent acceleration component. With reference to eq. (2.31) in Chapter 2, the accelerations
of points P1 and P2 have the general form
P G 2 P G
a1,2 aG
1,2
1,2
so that the forces of inertia m1a1 , m2a 2 can be more clearly represented in Fig.4.3b by means of
their components
P G 2 P G
-m1a P1 m1 aG
1
1
(4.10f)
P G 2 P G
-m2a P2 m2 aG
2
2

indicated on the right hand side and illustrated in Fig.4.3b.

32

Other external forces or moments possibly applied to the body have been omitted, being
unimportant at the moment.
Eq. (4.10b) defining the position of the centre of gravity implies also (see Fig. 4.3a)
m1b1 m2b2
(4.10g)
In fact, rearranging eq. (4.10b) we have:
m1 m2 xG m1 x1 m2 x2 m1 xG x1 m2 x2 xG

m1 m2 yG m1 y1 m2 y2

m1 yG y1 m2 y2 yG
and by squaring , summing the two sides of the last expressions and taking the square roots of both
sides:
m12 xG x1 m22 x2 xG
2

m12 yG y1 m22 y2 yG
2

m1

xG x1 yG y1
2

m2

xG x2 yG y2
2

m1b1 m2b2

By means of this result, in Fig. 4.3b the only remaining components of the forces of inertia are (in
scalar form) m1aG , m2 aG since all the others eliminate themselves two by two, being
b m
b and opposite in direction. The force of inertia, in vector form,
m 2b m 2b ; m
1

thus reduces to

Fin maG
(4.11)
As indicated in eq. (4.10e), this is the fictitious force to be added to other (active or reactive)
external forces applied to the rigid body, to obtain the equation of its dynamic equilibrium in a static
form. The force of inertia acting on the two particle body gives raise to a moment around the centre
of gravity G. Writing the equilibrium at rotation around G in scalar form we have (positive
clockwise):
(4.12)
m1b1 m2b2 aG cos m1 b12 m2 b22 m1b12 m2b22 J G

, being by definition m b 2 m b 2 J the mass moment of


resulting in a moment of inertia J G
1 1
2 2
G

inertia with respect to G of the two particles rigid body.


is opposed to the angular acceleration
, so that
It has to be noted that this moment of inertia J G
in vector form, the moment of inertia is

M in J G
(4.13)
Recalling the equations (4.1), (4.2) of static equilibrium of a rigid body, by means of DAlembert
principle the dynamic equilibrium equations become

R F + Fin F maG 0


M*O M O (G O) maG in M O (G O) maG J G

(4.14)

i.e. the sum R of all the active, reactive (i.e. those due to removed constraints) and inertia forces
must be zero as well as the sum M*O of the moments of active and reactive forces with respect of a
. By separating the above said contributions
chosen pole O and the moment of inertia M J
in

we obtain

R j F j n R cn maG 0
0
M*O j Pj O F j n Pn O R cn k Ck s Ccs (G O) maG J G
33

(4.15)

where Fj and Ck are external active forces and moments, Rcn and Ccs are the reactive forces and
moments. Dynamic equilibrium conditions for a single rigid body are fully expressed by eqs. (4.15).
If a mechanical system is composed of more than one rigid body, eqs. (4.15) represents only a
necessary condition, i.e. is not sufficient to guarantee the dynamic equilibrium of the system. As for
a static problem, also in dynamics it would be necessary:
c) to separate the rigid bodies one from another and apply eqs. (4.15) to every single rigid body
composing the mechanical system;
d) to consider, besides eqs. (4.15), further dynamic equilibrium equations concerning the
relative mobility among bodies of the system.
Considering the case of a continuous rigid body, DAlembert principle can be applied to every
single infinitesimal particle we can imagine the body to be composed of. In this way we have a
continuous distribution of forces of inertia, each given by
dFin dma

(4.16)

Once these forces have been introduced, the motion of the body must satisfy the dynamic
equilibrium conditions under the action exerted by the applied forces (both active and reactive)
together with the of inertia. forces and moment, as given in eq. (4.15). As an example, let us
consider a beam with a uniformly distributed mass m per unit length, rotating around a pinned end,
as shown in Fig. 4.4.

Fig. 4.4

To calculate the distribution of the elementary forces of inertia, a coordinate is introduced.


The acceleration of a point at distance from the pinned end presents a tangent component,
orthogonal to the beam, and a normal component, directed towards the axis of rotation. By
considering that the trajectories of all points of the rotating beam are circles with centre in the fixed
point, these two components are given by
at t
a 2n
n

were the symbols used in


where and are the angular speed and acceleration of the beam ( ,
the previous example), positive if anti-clockwise, while t and n are unit vectors indicating the
tangent and normal directions. On the basis of dAlembert principle, the infinitesimal component of
the force of inertia acting on an element of length dare:
dFint md at

dFinn md a n
Let us now calculate the force resulting from all the distributed elementary forces of inertia: it will
present two components, one normal to the beam, given by all the tangential components, and one
parallel to the beam, due to all the centrifugal components, given by
34

L2
t
0
2
L
L2
R inn dFinn m 2 d n -m 2n
0
2
To understand the meaning of the results obtained, let us observe that mL is the total mass M of the
beam and that, due to the uniform mass distribution, its centre of gravity G is found at a distance
L/2 from the fixed extremity, so that the tangent and normal acceleration components of G are:
L
aGt t
2
L
aGn 2n
2
so that, recalling the motion of the gravity centre principle, the aforementioned components become
also
R int MaGt
R int dFint m d t = -m
L

R inn MaGn

whose sum is
R in MaG

(4.17)

i.e. as already seen for the two particles rigid body, the resulting force of inertia of a continuous
rigid body is equal to the product of the overall mass of the body multiplied by the acceleration of
its centre of gravity and changed in sign.
Turning now to the moment of the elementary forces of inertia with respect t, let us choose as a pole
the centre of gravity G. In such a case the moment of the normal components is null, since they all
pass through G. The moment of the tangential forces is given by:
L
L
L
L
L3

M inG Fint d k m d k m k
0
0
2
2
12

where k is a unit vector normal to the plane of motion. By recalling the mass moment of inertia of a
homogeneous bar (3.15) around its gravity centre, the moment of the inertia forces can be written as
M inG J Gk

(4.18)

As a general conclusion it can be stated that the overall system of inertia acting on a rigid body can
always be reduced to a resulting force, applied to the centre of gravity, equal to the product of the
body mass times the acceleration vector of the centre of gravity and changed in sign (as already
expressed by eq. (4.17)) and a moment (called moment of inertia) equal to the product of the mass
moment of inertia around the centre of gravity times the angular acceleration vector of the body and
changed in sign (as stated in eq.(4.18)). Recalling the symbols used in this example, the dynamic
equilibrium of the rotating beam reads
R R in 0
M*O M in G O R in 0

35

(4.19)

Application example: thin rigid body rotating around a fixed axis

Fig. 4.5

With reference to Fig. 4.5, a thin rigid body of mass m and mass moment of inertia JG around its
gravity centre is rotating around the pin axis in O at a given angular speed . The eternal forces
applied to the body are given by a force F applied in P, the gravity force mg (body weigh) applied
in the centre of gravity G and a moment M, whose anti-clockwise action is graphically indicated by
a circular arrow. The unknown quantity to be determine by the dynamic equilibrium approach
(DAlembert principle) is the angular acceleration .
Let us first calculate the system of the forces of inertia (force and moment) acting on the body
introducing two unit vectors, t normal to the line OG and n, along OG, (see Fig. 4.5)), and a unit
vector k exiting from the directory plane. By applying dAlembert principle we have:
Fin m 2 OG n m OG t
M in J G k
By removing the constraining pin, two components Rn and Rt of the reaction force applied in O can
be put into evidence. Assuming as a sign convention positive the forces along t and n, and positive
the moments if clockwise, by first writing the dynamic equilibrium of the moments around O we
have:
2
J G m OG mgOG sin Fb M 0
from which the requested angular acceleration can be directly obtained
M Fb mgOG sin

(4.20)
2
J G mOG
Since this equation does not contain the constraint forces is called as pure.
By projecting the first equation of the system (4.19) along t and n directions we have:
F cos m 2 OG mg cos Rn 0
F sin m OG mg sin Rt 0
where is the angle between F and n and the angle between mg and n respectively.
These last two equations represent the dynamic equilibrium of the body at translation in two
distinguished directions of the directory plane and allow for the reaction forces Rn and Rt to be
determined.

36

4.3.3 Mechanical system composed of rigid bodies


For a mechanical system composed of n rigid bodies it can written n systems of equations (4.19) in
vector form, i.e. the 2n vector equations of the form:
R j R in , j 0
M*O j , j M in , j G j O j R in , j 0

(4.20)

From vector form (4.20), 3n scalar equations can be obtained, 2n from the first of (4.20) for the
dynamic equilibrium at translation and n related to moment equations. In the system (4.20) the
resulting force Rj acting on the jth body will include:

the external forces applied to the jth body;


the reaction forces, corresponding to the constraints connecting the jth to the ground;
the reaction forces corresponding to the constraints connecting the jth body to other bodies;

These equations allow for 3n unknowns to be determined. Besides the constraint forces, these
unknowns will generally include:
A certain number of kinematic parameters (linear acceleration components, angular
accelerations of bodies) equal in number to the number of degrees of freedom (d.o.f.); this is
the case called direct dynamic problem which can be stated briefly as given the force,
determine the acceleration; the case of inverse dynamic problem vice versa can be
indicated as given the acceleration determine the force necessary to produce it;
A number of unknown active forces or moments corresponding to the d.o.f. of the system:
this is a kinetic-static problem.
It has to be observed that a couple of equilibrium equations having the form (4.20) can be written
also for any part of the system, composed of several bodies linked to one another or for the
complete system. In this case the three scalar equations of dynamic equilibrium will contain:

the external forces applied to all the bodies composing the considered sub-system;
the reaction forces, corresponding to the constraints connecting the sub-system bodies to the
ground;
the reaction forces corresponding to the constraints connecting the considered sub-system to
the remaining part of the system; forces exerted between any two bodies belonging to the
considered sub-system (indicated as internal forces) will not appear: in fact, due to the
action and reaction principle, to the action exerted by one body on a connected other body
there will correspond an equal and opposed reaction of the latter to the former, o that the
overall result is null.

In any case it is possible to verify that the overall number of independent equations that can be
written for a system in plane motion is always 3n, n being the number of bodies composing the
mechanical system. This is the maximum number of equations; very frequently is not necessary to
write all of them but, depending on the problem to be dealt with, it could result more opportune
(and less time consuming) to impose the dynamic equilibrium to only one body, to a sub-system of
bodies or even to the overall system.

37

4.4

- Energy balance approach

As it was seen in Statics with the principle of virtual work, an energy approach can be used also in
Dynamics, to write the equations of motion of a mechanical system. It has been shown in the
preceding paragraph how it is possible, thanks to dAlembert principle, to treat a dynamic problem
as a static one, by introducing an opportune system of forces and moments of inertia. It is therefore
possible to apply the principle of virtual work by including also the work done by forces and
moments of inertia. In the case of fixed and frictionless constraints, by this approach it is possible to
write as many equations as the number of d.o.f. of the system, automatically (i.e. by definition)
excluding the unknown constraint reactions from the expression of the virtual work. In particular,
for a one d.o.f. system one equation will be obtained, allowing us to solve the dynamic problem.
As an example, let us consider again the case of the rigid body represented in Fig. 4.5, already
analyzed by means of the dynamic equilibrium approach. Given the pin constraint in O, the virtual
displacement of the body can only be a rotation around O, described by a virtual rotation
(positive if anti-clockwise). By applying the principle of virtual work we have:

maG sG 0
M mg sG F s P J

(4.21)

k; sG G O ; s P P O

where

being k a unit vector normal to the directory plane.


By solving the dot products and grouping terms we get

J G M m OG mgOG sin Fb 0

(4.22)

Since eq (4.22) has to be valid for any rotation the following pure equation is obtained
2

J G M m OG mgOG sin Fb 0
(4.23)
which is, in this case, the same as that found previously writing the moment dynamic equilibrium
around O.
If, in the case of fixed and frictionless constraints, we substitute to the virtual displacements the
actual displacements, i.e. actually executed in an infinitesimal time dt, which depend on the actual
velocities of the points of the body and from its angular speed, we have:
d dt; dsG v G dt ; ds P v P dt
thereby obtaining

M mg vG F v P J maG vG dt 0

so that
maG v G 0
M mg v G F v P J
i.e. the overall sum of the power of all the forces and moments acting on the body (including those
of inertia) must be zero. The equation here obtained represents the so called power balance, and, for
a mechanical system, can be summarized by the symbolic equation

W W
j

in

(4.24)

which states that the sum of the powers of every force and moment acting on the system (including
those of forces and moments of inertia) must be zero.
38

In dynamic problems the power balance equation is of more spontaneous use since it is more
closely related to the motion of the bodies composing the system.

4.4.1- Kinetic energy of a rigid body


By means of the notions of centre of gravity and mass moment of inertia it is possible to calculate
the kinetic energy of a rigid body in the most general motion conditions of translation and rotation.
Assuming the centre of gravity G as a reference, the velocity vector of a point P of a rigid body is:
v P vG ( P G)

(4.25)

The kinetic energy Ek of a body is defined as


1
Ek vP2 dV
where
vP2 v P v P
2 V
Keeping account of eq (4.24)
1
Ek v G P G v G P G dV
2 V
By executing the products indicated in eq. (4.26) and after reordering them
1
1
Ek v G v G dV v G P G dV
V
V
2
2
1
1
2
P G dV v G 2 P G dV
V
V
2
2

centre of gravity. The integral

The second and third term containing

V
2

(4.26)

(4.27)

( P G ) dV are equal to zero, following the definition of

P G dV is the mass moment of inertia J G of the body around

the centre G. The final expression of the kinetic energy becomes:


Ek

1
1
1
1
mv G v G J G mvG2 J G 2
2
2
2
2

(4.28)

The first term is the contribution of the translation motion, the second represents that due to rotation
around the centre of gravity . It has to be noted that this two-terms expression is valid only if
referred to the centre G. Choosing any other point will cause the second and third term of (4.26) to
be different from zero. Eq. (4.28) represents the Knig theorem, the simplest form to express the
kinetic energy of a rigid body in translation and rotation motion.

4.4.2- Kinetic energy theorem


In eq. (4.24) of the power balance, the term representing the power of the forces of inertia can be
expressed as the first derivative with respect to time of the kinetic energy. In fact, deriving in this
way the kinetic energy of a single body (expressed by using the Knig theorem) we obtain
dEk 1
1
1
1
JG

maG v G mv G aG J G
dt
2
2
2
2
and, due to the commutative property of the scalar product,
dEk

maG v G J G
dt

39

A comparison to the expression obtained by the power balance leads to the equivalence
Win

dEk
dt

So that eq. (4.24) becomes

dEk
dt

(4.29)

which states that with fixed and frictionless constraints the sum of the powers of all the active
forces equals the first derivative of the kinetic energy with respect to time; this is known also as the
kinetic energy theorem.
The validity of this theorem is not limited to a single body but holds true for a system with any
number of bodies, with an important physical meaning: during the motion of the system, when the
sum of the powers of the active forces is positive the kinetic energy has a positive first derivative,
i.e. the kinetic energy increases; vice versa, with a negative powers sum, the kinetic energy
decreases, exhibiting a negative first derivative.

4.5- Kinematics and dynamics of mechanical systems


To study the dynamic behaviour of mechanical systems composed of several rigid bodies the
dynamic equilibrium equations (4.20) can be used. For one degree of freedom systems, if the
constraint and or internal forces are not required and in absence of friction, the energy balance
approach represents a very useful tool. The generalized expression of eq. (4.29) in the case of a
mechanical system composed of n rigid bodies becomes:
n

dEk ,i

dt

W
j

i i
mi aG ,i v G ,i J G ,i

(4.29a)

In order to use this equation the velocities of the points of application of forces as well as the
angular velocities to the rigid bodies to which moments are applied have to be computed. This
obviously applies to the calculation of the kinetic energy, for which special points of attention are
the centres of gravity Gi .
In the case of direct dynamic problem, the active forces are known and the quantity to be
determined by eq. (4.29a) is the acceleration (linear or angular) of a point or of a body: Being a one
d.o.f. problem, the accelerations of the rigid bodies composing the system are all connected to the
one of a reference body. A reference body velocity has to be known, if any active force is velocity
dependent.
In the case of inverse dynamic problem, the acceleration (linear or angular) of a point or of a
reference body is known (allowing the calculation of all the necessary others) and an active
force/moment has to be determined by eq. (4.29a). In what follows example of application for
inverse dynamic problem will be shown. The first solution stage of this kind of problems is the
kinematic analysis of the system, in order to find the relationships existing between the kinematic
quantities of interest.
Example 1: Four-bar linkage mechanism
An example of an inverse dynamic problem is proposed in Fig. 4.6a, where a four bar linkage is
represented, to which a known force FB is applied at point B and the moment Mm necessary to keep
the motion with certain imposed angular velocity 1 and acceleration 1 of the crank O1 A has to be
found.

40

Fig. 4.6a

Fig. 4.6b

Position analysis
Given the geometry of the system through the quantities r1 , r2 , r3 , r4 , 1 , 4 , let us first determine the
position of the bodies AB and BO2 , as a function of 1 as independent variable.
The vector closure of the mechanism can be written as

A O1 B A B O2 O2 O1 0

(4.30)

and in exponential complex form as


r1ei1 r2 ei 2 r3ei3 r4 ei 4 0

(4.31)

The vector r1ei1 r4 ei 4 is known ( r4 ei 4 is constant with time, being fixed to the ground); let us
indicate r1ei1 r4ei4 c id . By separating the real and the imaginary part of eq. (4.31) we
obtain

r2 cos 2 c r3 cos 3

(4.32)
r2 sin 2 d r3 sin 3
a non linear system in the unknown quantities 2 , 3 . By squaring both sides of (4.32) and
summing we have

r22 c r3 cos 3 d r3 sin 3 c 2 d 2 r32 2r3 c cos 3 d sin 3


2

(4.33)

thereby obtaining

r22 c 2 d 2 r32
b
2r3
b c cos 3 d sin 3
i.e.
By squaring again both sides we obtain the expression
2
b c cos 3 d 2 sin 2 3 d 2 1 cos 2 3
c cos 3 d sin 3

and in a the final form

d 2 cos 2 3 2bc cos 3 b 2 d 2 0

41

(4.34)

(4.35)

The two values of the roots of (4.35) correspond to the two possible positions B, B ' , to be chosen
by the user. Once the value of 3 is determined, eq. (4.32) give us the value of 2 . At this point, for
a given value of the crank rotation 1 the position of the mechanism is found. By updating the
value of 1 , the previous expressions can be used in a recursive form, thus allowing us to determine
the configuration of the system corresponding to a complete rotation of the crank AO , as well as
the trajectory of any point belonging to the connecting rod AB .

Velocity analysis
By deriving the closure equation (4.31) with respect to time we have

1r1e

i 1
2

2 r2 e

i2
2

3 r3e

i 3
2

(4.36)

where the angular velocities 1 , 2 , 3 appear. The angular velocity 1 of the crank is supposed to
be assigned. By separating the real and the imaginary part of eq. (4.31) we obtain

3 r3 sin 3 2 r2 sin 2 1r1 sin 1


3 r3 cos 3 2 r2 cos 2 1r1 cos 1

(4.37)

i.e. two linear equations in the unknown quantities 2 , 3 , since the position of the mechanism is
known. Equation (4.36) can also be solved graphically (see Fig. 4.6c) by representing the known
vectors on the base of a chosen graphical scale of representation. In fact, this equation, referred to
the rigid body AB (we know the velocity of point A and the trajectory of point B) reads also as
v B v A v BA

(4.38)

where
v B 3r3e

i 3
2

i 1
2

v A 1r1e

v BA 2 r2 e

; BO2

; AO1

i 2
2

; AB

Fig. 4.6c

Once the vector v A is represented, we can draw the known direction of the two unknown vectors
v B , v BA so closing the velocity triangle over v A . The verses of the two unknown vectors are such as
to respect the vector equation (4.38).
The previous velocity expressions can be used in a recursive form, thus allowing us to determine
the velocities (linear and angular) of the system components for any given value of the position and
velocity of the crank AO1 .
Acceleration analysis
By deriving the velocity equation (4.36) with respect to time we have the vector equation

i 2
2

12 r1ei 2 r2 e
1

22 r2 e

i 2

42

i 3
2

3r3e

32 r3e

i 3

(4.39)

where 1 0 , by assuming the crank angular velocity 1 to be constant.


In eq. (4.39) the angular accelerations 2 , 3 appear to be the unknowns. By separating the real and
the imaginary part of eq. (4.39) we obtain

32 r3 cos 3 3 sin 3 22 r2 cos 2 2 sin 2 12 r1 cos 1


32 r3 sin 3 3 cos 3 22 r2 sin 2 2 cos 2 12 r1 sin 1

(4.40)

i.e. the derivatives of (4.37) with respect to time. Equation (4.39) can also be solved graphically
(see Fig. 4.6d) after choosing a graphical scale of representation for the known acceleration
components. With reference to the rigid body AB the following relation holds
aB aB a A a BA =aA aA aBA aBA
n

aB

i
32 r3e 3 ; // BO2

i 1
2
1 1

a A = r e
n

a BA

; // AO1

i
= 22 r2 e 2 ; // AB

i 3
2

a B 3r3e

(4.41)
unknown; BO2

aA = 0
t

a BA

i 2
2

2 r2 e

unknown; AB

Fig. 4.6d

First we draw the known vectors aA , aBA , aB are represented, we can draw the known directions of
n

the two unknown vectors aB , aBA so closing the accelerations polygon. The verses of the two
unknown vectors are such as to respect the vector equation (4.41).
Also the previous expressions for the acceleration components can be used in a recursive form, thus
allowing us to determine their values (linear and angular) for any given value of the position and
velocity of the crank AO1 .
t

Dynamic analysis
By considering the moment M m as the only unknown, the dynamic analysis can now be performed
by means of eq. (4.29a), where all the kinematic quantities previously found are to be introduced,
together with the inertia characteristics of the bodies composing the mechanism, i.e. masses and
mass moments of inertia, if any, thereby obtaining the general form:
1 1 m2aG ,2 v G ,2 J G ,2
2 2 m3aG ,3 v G ,3 J G ,3
3 3
M m 1 FB v B m1aG ,1 v G ,1 J G ,1

The angular accelerations are already known, the linear velocities v G ,1 , v G ,2 , v G ,3 and accelerations
aG ,1 , aG ,2 , aG ,3 of the gravity centres have to be determined on the basis of the kinematic results
obtained before. In any case, it has to be noted that:
M m 1 M m1 , the angular velocity 1 of the crank (body 1) has the same verse of the one
assumed for the unknown moment M m ;
m1aG ,1 v G ,1 =0, since the acceleration of the crank is normal to the velocity
1 1 =0, since the angular acceleration of the crank is null.
J G ,1

The simplified form of the power balance becomes


43

M m1 FB vB cos 3 / 2 m2 aG ,2 vG ,2 J G ,22 2 m3 aG ,3 vG ,3 J G ,33 3


t

The unknown quantity M m will result as a function of the position, which on its turn is a function
of time. As a demonstration of the solution procedure we can refer to an assigned instantaneous
position. By considering this latter case, the results obtained with the graphical solutions can be also
used.
Example 2: Slider-slotted arm mechanism

By assuming, as an example, the configuration of Fig. 4.7 of this mechanism, let us now consider a
kinematic and dynamic problem related to it, as indicated in Fig. 4.7.

Fig. 4.7

Let us assume the dynamic problem to consist in determining the moment M, necessary to make the
component AB to rotate at a given constant angular speed , while a force F is applied at point P
of the slotted arm. By considering the moment M as the only unknown, the dynamic analysis will
be performed by means of eq. (4.29a) in the form:
M F v P maG v G J G

(4.42)

which clearly indicates the kinematic quantities to be determined by means of the kinematic
analysis.
Position analysis
Given the geometry of the system through the quantities h, r , , let us first determine the position
of the body OB as a function of (independent variable).
By closing an appropriate loop of vectors (see Fig. 4.8) we have
r hei sei 0

(4.43)

By separating the real and imaginary part of eq. (4.43) we obtain


r h cos s cos
h sin s sin
which leads to the solution

44

(4.44)

tan
s

h sin
r h cos

(4.45)

r h cos h sin
2

defining the position of point B of the slider.


Velocity analysis
By deriving the closure equation (4.43) with respect to time we have

he


i
2

i
2

se
se
i

(4.46)

where the angular velocities , appear. The angular velocity of the body AB is supposed to be
assigned. By separating the real and the imaginary part of eq. (4.46) and rearranging terms we
obtain
s cos s sin h sin
s sin s cos h cos

(4.47)

Two linear equations in the unknown quantities s, , being s, already known through eqs. (4.45).
Equation (4.47) can also be solved graphically (see Fig. 4.7a) by representing the known vectors on
the base of a chosen graphical scale of representation. In fact, this equation, referred to the rigid
body AB (we know the velocity of point B) reads also as (4.48):
v B vO v R

(4.48)

where
v B he


i
2

i
2

v O se

; AB

; OB

i ; // OB
v R se
Fig. 4.7a

being v O the velocity of B due to its position along OB and the rotating speed of the slotted arm,
v R the relative velocity of B along the slotted arm. Once the vector v B is represented, we can draw
the known direction of the two unknown vectors v O , v R so closing the velocity triangle over v B .
The verses of the two unknown vectors are such as to respect the vector equation (4.48). From the
verse of the velocity component s in Fig.4.7a the angular velocity appears to be anti-clockwise.
The previous velocity expressions (4.47) can be used in a recursive form, thus allowing us to
determine the velocities (linear and angular) of the system components for any given value of the
position and velocity of the crank AB .
Acceleration analysis
By deriving the velocity equation (4.46) with respect to time we have the vector equation

i / 2 sei / 2 2 sei 2 hei


sei 2 se

45

(4.49)

being 0 since has been assumed to be constant.


In eq. (4.49) the accelerations
s , are the unknowns; by separating the real and the imaginary part
we obtain

s cos s sin 2 h cos 2s sin s 2 cos

s sin s cos 2 h sin 2s cos s 2 sin

(4.50)

i.e. the derivatives of (4.47) with respect to time, leaving on the right hand side the unknowns. The
graphical solution of equation (4.50), referred to an instantaneous situation, is shown in Fig. 4.7b.
With reference to the rigid body AB the following relation holds:
a B a R a BO aCoriolis

where

a B 2 he

(4.51)

; // AB

a R
se ; // OB
n
i
a 2 se ; // OB
O

i
2

a O se

aCoriolis

; OB

i
2


2 se

; OB

Fig. 4.7b

We draw first the known vectors a B , aCoriolis , a BO , obtaining an open chain of vectors. At the two
extremities of this open chain we draw then the known directions of the two unknown vectors
t
a R , aO so closing the accelerations polygon. The verses of the two unknown vectors are such as to
respect the vector equation (4.51). From the verse of the acceleration component s in Fig.4.7a the
angular acceleration is clockwise, i.e. opposite to the angular velocity .
Also the previous expressions for the acceleration components can be used in a recursive form, thus
allowing us to determine their values (linear and angular) for any given value of the position and
velocity of the crank AB .
Dynamic analysis
By considering the moment M as the only unknown, the dynamic analysis can now be performed
by means of eq. (4.42), where all the kinematic quantities previously found are to be introduced.
By solving the dot products, the power balance becomes
OG 2 J

M F OP cos / 2 m
G

46