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A mathematical framework for rigid contact detection between quadric and superquadric surfaces. (English) Zbl 1376.70012
Summary: The calculation of the minimum distance between surfaces plays an important role in computational mechanics, namely, in the study of constrained multibody systems where contact forces take part. In this paper, a general rigid contact detection methodology for non-conformal bodies, described by ellipsoidal and superellipsoidal surfaces, is presented. The mathematical framework relies on simple algebraic and differential geometry, vector calculus, and on the \(C^2\) continuous implicit representations of the surfaces. The proposed methodology establishes a set of collinear and orthogonal constraints between vectors defining the contacting surfaces that, allied with \(loci\) constraints, which are specific to the type of surface being used, formulate the contact problem. This set of non-linear equations is solved numerically with the Newton-Raphson method with Jacobian matrices calculated analytically. The method outputs the coordinates of the pair of points with common normal vector directions and, consequently, the minimum distance between both surfaces. Contrary to other contact detection methodologies, the proposed mathematical framework does not rely on polygonal-based geometries neither on complex non-linear optimization formulations. Furthermore, the methodology is extendable to other surfaces that are (strictly) convex, interact in a non-conformal fashion, present an implicit representation, and that are at least \(C^{2}\) continuous. Two distinct methods for calculating the tangent and binormal vectors to the implicit surfaces are introduced: (i) a method based on the Householder reflection matrix; and (ii) a method based on a square plate rotation mechanism. The first provides a base of three orthogonal vectors, in which one of them is collinear to the surface normal. For the latter, it is shown that, by means of an analogy to the referred mechanism, at least two non-collinear vectors to the normal vector can be determined. Complementarily, several mathematical and computational aspects, regarding the rigid contact detection methodology, are described. The proposed methodology is applied to several case tests involving the contact between different (super) ellipsoidal contact pairs. Numerical results show that the implemented methodology is highly efficient and accurate for ellipsoids and superellipsoids.

70E55 Dynamics of multibody systems
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