Contact Simulations with the Isogeometric Analysis

Impacts occur in many mechanical systems, such as coupling devices, braking systems or bearings. Important characteristics of impacts are the short time duration, high contact forces, and high frequency phenomena like wave propagation and structural vibrations.

The straightforward approach for the analysis of contacts is the fully elastic modeling of the bodies with the finite element method (FEM). Isoparametric elements are often used in this process. A disadvantage of isoparametric elements is that the geometry is discretized and the original geometry cannot be exactly preserved. However, the calculation of the contact forces is based on the geometry, which makes an accurate representation of the geometry essential for the contact simulation.

An alternative to isoparametric elements is the isogeometric analysis (IGA). By using isogeometric elements, the geometry is exactly preserved and high eignemodes are more accurately represented compared to isoparametric elements. An accurate approximation of eigenmodes is relevant in the context of a flexible multibody simulation.


In the institute's own Matlab toolbox RIGA, simple geometries can be created and meshed with isogeometric elements. The finite element model is then imported into the Matlab toolbox RED, a model reduction is performed and the standard input data is calculated. Finally, the flexible multibody simulation takes place in the Matlab toolbox DynManto.

  1. Seifried, R.: Numerische und experimentelle Stoßanalyse für Mehrkörpersysteme. Schriften aus dem Institut für Technische und Numerische Mechanik der Universität Stuttgart, Band 2. Aachen: Shaker Verlag, 2005.
  2. Rückwald, T.; Held, A.; Seifried, R.: Flexible multibody impact simulations based on the isogeometric analysis approach. Multibody system dynamics 54 (1): 75-95 (2022-01).
  3. Cottrell, J.A., Hughes, T.J.R., Bazilevs, Y.: Isogeometric Analysis. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2009.