Ghosts and machines : regularized variational methods for interactive simulations of multibodies with dry frictional contacts

Sammanfattning: A time-discrete formulation of the variational principle of mechanics is used to provide a consistent theoretical framework for the construction and analysis of low order integration methods. These are applied to mechanical systems subject to mixed constraints and dry frictional contacts and impacts---machines. The framework includes physics motivated constraint regularization and stabilization schemes. This is done by adding potential energy and Rayleigh dissipation terms in the Lagrangian formulation used throughout. These terms explicitly depend on the value of the Lagrange multipliers enforcing constraints. Having finite energy, the multipliers are thus massless ghost particles. The main numerical stepping method produced with the framework is called SPOOK.Variational integrators preserve physical invariants globally, exactly in some cases, approximately but within fixed global bounds for others. This allows to product realistic physical trajectories even with the low order methods. These are needed in the solution of nonsmooth problems such as dry frictional contacts and in addition, they are computationally inexpensive. The combination of strong stability, low order, and the global preservation of invariants allows for large integration time steps, but without loosing accuracy on the important and visible physical quantities. SPOOK is thus well-suited for interactive simulations, such as those commonly used in virtual environment applications, because it is fast, stable, and faithful to the physics.New results include a stable discretization of highly oscillatory terms of constraint regularization; a linearly stable constraint stabilization scheme based on ghost potential and Rayleigh dissipation terms; a single-step, strictly dissipative, approximate impact model; a quasi-linear complementarity formulation of dry friction that is isotropic and solvable for any nonnegative value of friction coefficients; an analysis of a splitting scheme to solve frictional contact complementarity problems; a stable, quaternion-based rigid body stepping scheme and a stable linear approximation thereof. SPOOK includes all these elements. It is linearly implicit and linearly stable, it requires the solution of either one linear system of equations of one mixed linear complementarity problem per regular time step, and two of the same when an impact condition is detected. The changes in energy caused by constraints, impacts, and dry friction, are all shown to be strictly dissipative in comparison with the free system. Since all regularization and stabilization parameters are introduced in the physics, they map directly onto physical properties and thus allow modeling of a variety of phenomena, such as constraint compliance, for instance.Tutorial material is included for continuous and discrete-time analytic mechanics, quaternion algebra, complementarity problems, rigid body dynamics, constraint kinematics, and special topics in numerical linear algebra needed in the solution of the stepping equations of SPOOK.The qualitative and quantitative aspects of SPOOK are demonstrated by comparison with a variety of standard techniques on well known test cases which are analyzed in details. SPOOK compares favorably for all these examples. In particular, it handles ill-posed and degenerate problems seamlessly and systematically. An implementation suitable for large scale performance and accuracy testing is left for future work.