This volume contains the edited version of selected papers presented at the Nato Advanced Study Institute on "Computer Aided Analysis of Rigid and Flexible Mechanical Systems", held in Portugal, from the 27 June to 9 July, 1994. The present volume can be viewed as a natural extension of the material addressed in the Institute which was published by KLUWER in the NATO ASI Series, Vol. 268, in 1994. The requirements for accurate and efficient analysis tools for design of large and lightweight mechanical systems has driven a strong interest in the challenging problem of multibody dynamics. The development of new analysis and design formulations for multi body systems has been more recently motivated with the need to include general features such as: real-time simulation capabilities, active control of machine flexibilities and advanced numerical methods related to time integration of the dynamic systems equations. In addition to the presentation of some basic formulations and methodologies in dynamics of multibody systems, including computational aspects, major applications of developments to date are presented herein. The scope of applications is extended to vehicle dynamics, aerospace technology, robotics, mechanisms design, intermittent motion and crashworthiness analysis. Several of these applications are explored by many contributors with a constant objective to pace development and improve the dynamic performance of mechanical systems avoiding different mechanical limitations and difficult functional requirements, such as, for example, accurate positioning of manipulators.
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