Rigid body dynamics

In the physical science of dynamics, rigid-body dynamics studies the movement of systems of interconnected bodies under the action of external forces. The assumption that the bodies are rigid (i.e. they do not deform under the action of applied forces) simplifies analysis, by reducing the parameters that describe the configuration of the system to the translation and rotation of reference frames attached to each body.[1][2] This excludes bodies that display fluid, highly elastic, and plastic behavior.

Movement of each of the components of the Boulton & Watt Steam Engine (1784) can be described by a set of equations of kinematics and kinetics

The dynamics of a rigid body system is described by the laws of kinematics and by the application of Newton's second law (kinetics) or their derivative form, Lagrangian mechanics. The solution of these equations of motion provides a description of the position, the motion and the acceleration of the individual components of the system, and overall the system itself, as a function of time. The formulation and solution of rigid body dynamics is an important tool in the computer simulation of mechanical systems.

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