Superquadric Object Representation for Dynamics of Multi-Body Structures

by John R. Williams, MIT, United States,
Alex P. Pentland, MIT, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Computer Utilization in Structural Engineering


While the finite element representation of an object in terms of nodal coordinates and shape functions is ideal for representing the stress and energy state, it is not well suited to the contact detection calculations necessary in multi-body dynamics. This paper highlights alternative object representation schemes, particularly those based on superquadric functions. These functions possess many advantageous properties for body to body contact algrorithms. It is shown that these functions can form the basis for an hierarchical analysis scheme based on modal decomposition as implemented in the Discrete Element Method.

Subject Headings: Discrete element method | Dynamic structural analysis | Computer aided design | Construction methods | Structural design | Structural dynamics | Algorithms | Computer aided operations

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