The behavior of a cantilever beam built into a rigid body that is performing a specified motion of rotation and translation is studied with two objectives in mind. First, because the subject is of interest in connection with spacecraft antennae, helicopter rotor blades, robot arms, and other systems that perform complex motions, we create an algorithm that can be used to predict the behavior of the beam when the base undergoes general three-dimensional motions. Effects such as centrifugal stiffening and vibrations induced by Coriolis forces are accommodated automatically, rather than with the aid of ad hoc provisions. The second objective is to draw attention to fundamental flaws in certain multibody computer programs currently under development or already in use. To this end, we construct a second simulation algorithm, one that embodies the procedure apparently employed in the programs in question, and then compare simulation results produced by computer programs based on the two algorithms. Conflicts between the two approaches that thus come to light are discussed in detail.
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