There are three basic finite element formulations which are used in the dynamics of flexible beams. These are the floating frame of reference approach, the finite segment method and the large rotation vector approach. Recently, the absolute nodal coordinate formulation was proposed by A.A.Shabana et al. In this procedure, there is no need to transform the element matrices since the equations of motion are defined in terms of absolute nodal coordinates. The mass matrix becomes constant, whereas the stiffness matrix becomes nonlinear function of time, even in case of linear elastic problems. One possible method to avoid such cumbersome of the absolute nodal coordinate formulation in calculating clastic forces is to assume the infinitesimal deformation theory against beams undergoing large rotation.

In this paper, a new formulation to calculate the elastic forces and add the rotary inertia effects in the expression of the inertia forces. This formulation is based on the assumption that the deformations within each element remain very small. The expression of the resulting clastic force is simple, and the need for performing coordinate transformation is avoided. As the method assumes that the deformation of the beam from a selected beam axis is very small, a large number of finite elements is required for large deformation problems. However, the formulation has been found to be efficient for large rotation and medium deformation problems. Numerical examples are demonstrated for this formulation by using planar flexible pendulum problems.

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