DYNAMICS OF FINITE ELEMENT MECHANICAL MODELS
WITH UNILATERAL CONTACTS AND FRICTION
A numerical method is developed, which is suitable for determining dynamic response of finite element models of mechanical systems involving unilateral contact and friction. In classical structural dynamics approaches, such constraints are usually modeled by special contact elements. The characteristics of these elements must be selected in a delicate way, but even so the success of these methods can not be guaranteed. The present method is based on a proper combination of recent results from two classes of analytical and numerical methodologies. The first one includes the standard methods that determine dynamic response of models resulting by employing the finite element method to systems with smooth nonlinearities. The second class of methods includes specialized methodologies that simulate the response of simple dynamical systems with unilateral constraints. The validity of the method is illustrated with numerical results.