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J. j . UIGKER, JR.

Research Fellow/
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Northwestern University, Evanston, III.
Student Mem. ASME

J. D E N A V I T
Associate Professor of
Mechanical Engineering,
Northwestern University, Evanston, III.
Mem. ASME

R. S. H A R T E N B E R G
Professor of Mechanical Engineering,
Northwestern University, Evanston, III.
Mem. ASME

An Iterative Method for tie Displacement


Analysis of Spatial Mechanisms
An algebraic method for the displacement analysis of linkages has been the subject of
earlier publications [1, 2\}
This method, based on the use of a symbolic
notation,
allows the application of matrix algebra to the study of displacements in linkages, and
permits formulation of all the kinematic relations of a linkage in terms of matrix equations. Based on this earlier work, the present paper develops an iterative method for the
solution of the matrix equations required in displacement analysis.
A complete solution is given for simple-closed linkages consisting of revolute and prismatic pairs (and
their combinations).
A brief indication of how higher pairs and multiple-closed
chains
may be handled is also given. Particularly useful in spatial problems, since it does not
depend on visualization, this approach is developed in a manner intended for digitalcomputer operation.

A N U M B E R of methods, well suited for the analysis of


displacements, velocities, accelerations, and forces in planar
mechanisms, are known. Spatial (or three-dimensional) mechanisms, however, have seen little application, in part because the
complexity of the kinematic relations have prevented solutions by
conventional methods. Analyses based on complex numbers are
unsuited because of the third dimension. The graphical method
and vector approach both have major limitations in their application to spatial problems, for they depend on choices which require
a visualization of the motion. Visualization of spatial motion is
at best very difficult, and this paper is part of an effort to (a)
systematically define all necessary fixed parameters and variables
of a mechanism, and (b) solve for the desired unknown quantities
by completely algebraic means.

A method based on matrix algebra, initiated by two of the


authors, has been presented earlier [1, 2], The procedure defines
all parameters required for a kinematic analysis, and allows
formulating spatial problems in terms of matrix equations. It is
the purpose of this paper to carry this work forward by providing
a general solution to the matrix equations required for displacement analysis.
Because of the calculations involved in matrix manipulations,
and because of the iterative character of the solution, the method
is developed with the intent that its solution would be performed
on a high-speed digital computer. A computer program was
written to be used on an I B M 709 [4], and numerical solutions
carried out for a variety of spatial linkages. These numerical results, summarized later, show that the present method yields reliable and economical solutions.

Formulation of Problem
Since this paper uses notations described in earlier publications
[1, 2], some of the fundamental concepts involved will first be reviewed.
In any simple-closed chain of binary links, the Gruebler criterion requires that, for constrained motion, the sum of the degrees of freedom of the individual joints be equal to seven. Even
with the exceptions produced by redundant constraints, this
1 Numbers in brackets designate References at end of paper.
Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division and presented
at the Winter Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pa., November 17-22,

1 9 6 3 , o f T H E A M E R I C A N S O C I E T Y OP M E C H A N I C A L E N G I N E E R S .

Discussion of this paper should be addressed to the Editorial Department, ASME, United Engineering Center, 345 East 47th Street,
New York, N. Y. 10017, and will be accepted until July 10, 1964.
Discussion received after the closing date will be returned. Manuscript received by ASME Applied Mechanics Division, March 14,
1963. Paper No." 63WA-45.

implies that the total number of links, n, must be less than or


equal to seven,
n $ 7

(1)

If the dimensions of a linkage are measured according to the


format outlined in this paper, the geometry of any link i and its
position relative to link i 1 maj' be completely specified by four
and s;, as shown in Fig. 1.
parameters, ait otit
These four parameters should be measured for each joint or pair
of the linkage according to the following set of conventions:
i = number of particular joint or pair. Input pair will be
taken as 1, and remaining joints will be numbered
consecutively around closed loop
Z; = characteristic axis of motion for pair involved.
All
z-axes should be defined clearly, and arbitrary orientation indicated
Xj = axis formed by common perpendicular directed from
Zi-i to z ( . If these axes intersect, orientation of x, is
arbitrary
2/( = axis implicitly defined to form a right-handed Cartesiancoordinate system, a:<t/iZ,Oj = length of common perpendicular from z ( to z,+1; always
positive
a ( = angle from positive z ( to positive z;+i, measured counterclockwise about positive zi+1
d ( = angle from positive
to positive xn-1, measured counterclockwise about positive z (
s,- = distance along z,- from Xi to x,-+i. Takes sign from
orientation of positive z f
Once the four parameters have been established for each pair of

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JUNE

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1 9 6 4

3 0 9

Z4.

T w o examples are shown in Figs. 2 and 3 with their s y m b o l i c

equations ( 3 ) and ( 4 ) 2 :

Ri

2.0
30

R2

0i
0

Ri

4.0

3.0

55
PZ
0
02
0
s3

45
0

0
0

RI

DI

p5

5.0

2.0

2.0

5.0

270

270

90

Ri

R,

02
0

03
0

Ri

60

Pi

Ri

04
0

= 1

(3)

Si

Ss

270
0i
0

5.0

2.0
90

05
0

i?o

2.0
90
06
0

N o t i c e that in the first example, the cylindric pairs having t w o


degrees of f r e e d o m h a v e been replaced b y coaxial revolute and
prismatic-pair combinations. Spherical pairs (ball and sockets),
plane pairs, and a number of higher pairs m a y be reduced to
revolute and prismatic-pair combinations in similar fashion, thus
extending the applicability of the present analysis.

Fig. 2

A l t h o u g h equation ( 2 ) is o n l y a s y m b o l i c equation describing


the g e o m e t r y of the mechanism, it does lead t o a convenient
matrix equation. T h e rCj-i/.z,- axes define a right-handed C a r tesian-coordinate system rigidly attached to link i. T h e four
parameters, a,-, a,-, 0,, s,-, fix the position of the coordinate system
of link i + 1 relative to that of link i. T h e relative positions of
these t w o coordinate systems can be stated analytically in terms
of a ( 4 X 4 ) transformation matrix involving o n l y the four
parameters, ( , a,-, 0,-, s ( ,

3C, R m e c h a n i s m

1
Ai

a,- cos 0;

cos (

sin di cos a,-

sin di sin a (

sin 6i

sin

cos 8i cos Ct;

- cos di sin a,-

Si

sin d i

(5)

cos Oti

Since the mechanism is a simple-closed loop, the n +


nate system is identical with coordinate system 1.

1 coordi-

This m a y b e

expressed in terms of the matrices as


A,A% . . . An = I

(6)

w h e r e n is the n u m b e r of links and I is the ( 4 X 4 ) unit matrix.


Fig. 3

T h i s equation completely describes the g e o m e t r y of the linkage,


and its solution should yield a complete displacement analysis,
i.e., the values of all pair variables of the linkage in terms of the
fixed parameters and the input variable di (or SI).

Bricard m e c h a n i s m

Matrix Equation of Approximation


As a matter of convenience, the following derivation will be perf o r m e d f o r the case of a simple-closed chain of seven or less
revolute pairs. I t will later be generalized to include prismatic
pairs.
Since the method is intended for use on a digital computer, all
of the continuous variables must be reduced to a series of t a b u lated values. F o r this reason, the mechanism will b e analyzed
at a series of instantaneous positions. A t a n y o n e of these positions 0i is k n o w n since it is the input angle; all of the a a , - , and s<
are also k n o w n since they are the dimensions of the mechanism.
A n iteration process will be developed to determine the values
of the remaining variables 0,-.
Fig. 4

Displacement curves o f t h e m e c h a n i s m

a linkage, the geometry of the linkage is completely specified, and


can be represented b y a s y m b o l i c equation of the f o r m
ai
Ri

a2

D,
P2

Sl

02
So

di
..

<
.Ri 0;

...Rn

a
a
0

(2)

J U N E

19 6 4

^ + ddi,

i = 2, 3, . . ., n

(7)

where 0t is the initial estimate and dd; is the error b e t w e e n the


estimate and the exact value.
T h e l o o p equation ( 6 ) m a y n o w be expressed as f o l l o w s :

where Ri denotes that pair 1 is a revolute pair with 0i as variable,


P2 denotes that pair 2 is a prismatic pair with variable s 2 , and so
on. I indicates that the chain is closed. I n addition, it will always
b e assumed that pair 1 is the input, so that 01 in the foregoing example is the input variable of the linkage.

310 /

F o r the d e v e l o p m e n t of this iteration process it will be necessary to m a k e s o m e initial estimates of the values of the unknowns. T h e y m a y then b e expressed as

A^dMtidi

dd2) . . . A(d

+ ddn) = I

(8)

W h e n the transformation matrix ( 5 ) is written in terms of the


initial estimates, it becomes
2 All linear dimensions are given in inches and all angular dimensions in degrees for these two example problems.

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Mb

+ ddi)

1
a,- cos (i + d6()
a, sin (6i + dd^

0
cos (i + ddi)
sin (Si + ddi)
0

0
sin (di + ddi) cos f ;
cos (di + ddi) cos oii
sin a t

0
sin (d_; + ddi) sin a,- c o s ( 0 i + ddi) sin a,cos a,-

Using trigonometric identities for sums of angles and assuming


that the initial estimates are sufficiently accurate to make use of
the small angle approximations on ddi, the foregoing matrix can
be expressed as the sum of two matrices:
1
Cli COS i
a,- sin Oi

0 _
i
sin di
0

Bx

0
sin 9j sin a (
cos di sin a,cos a ;

0
-a,- sin 0;
a,- cos di
0

B , =
0
-cos di cos a,-sin di cos at
0

0
-sin
cos di
0

The first of these two matrices can be immediately identified as


the original transformation matrix evaluated for d ; . T h e second
matrix, although not so easily recognized, can be seen to be the
first partial derivative of the transformation matrix with respect
to d it also evaluated for i. Henceforth the first of these two
matrices will be written as A t . Thus
Am

<

,=eii

d d i

(ID

Noting again that this problem is to be adapted to computer


operation, a linear operator matrix, Qg, will be introduced to perform the indicated differentiation through the following definition:
bAddi)

= QeA i

ddi

0
-1
0
0

0
0
0
0

0
Bi 21
Bi 31
Bm

0
Bin
Bi32
Bm

...(/

(18a)

. . A-iA)d0i

(10)

0
Bi-n
Bi3i
B (44

ddi

(2 ^

i ^ 7)

(186)

With this new notation, equation (16) becomes


B2 + Bs + . . . + Bn S / -

Bi

(19)

Next define a single ^-matrix to represent the entire left-hand


side of this equation:
7t
Ei

= X)

t=2

0
E 21
EN
J?41

(20 a)

<

0
E22
E32
EI 2

E =1

QeddMi

0
E23
E33

EA3

0
E24
E 34
EU

(206)

(21)

Bi

(14)

Although simple to write, it should be remembered that this


equation is only a shorthand notation for expressing the entire
equation (16). It still involves n 1 unknowns, the d8i, a n d
must be solved for these to continue with the iteration process.

(15)

Translational and Rotating Elements

+ Qedd3)A3 . . .
+ Qgd0i)Ai...(/

+ Qod0n)An

Performance of the multiplication would yield a very lengthy


and involved equation. However, in keeping with the idea of the
iteration process, all higher order terms of the form (dOidd,) may
be neglected. T h e expanded form of tliis equation becomes
(AlQeA2A3

(176)

Finally the matrix equation of approximation reduces to the


form

and substituting these forms in equation (8) yields


AX(I + Qed0z)Ml

. . . li-iQeAt.

0
Bi23
Bi3z
BM

0
Bl24
"124
D
Bm
B144

0
B\
23
"123
r>33
Bi
B143

(13)

+ QgAiddi
S ( /

0
B122
"122
r>
B132
Bia

(17a)

(12)

Condensing what has been shown thus far,


Ai(Oi)

..An

cos Ui sin a,ddi


sin di sin a {

E
0
0
1
0

A,A2A3

1
B121
"121
BBm
B141

(AIA2

Under this definition, the Qo-matrix is found to be


jo
0
0
0

(9)

equation of the iteration process for, as will be shown, it may be


solved for the ddi which are the iteration correction terms.
Let the following notation be introduced to represent the terms
of equation (16):

0
-sin di cos a (
cos i cos a,sin ai

COS

Si

Although this equation is still quite lengthy, and involves much


matrix multiplication, it is symmetrical in form and can be
handled nicely on a computer. This equation (16) will henceforth
be called the matrix equation of approximation. It is the essential

. . . A)ddi + (A1A2QgA3 . . . A)dd3 + . . .


. . . + (AUiA,

. . .

An-iQoA)dd

= I -

(A1A2A3

. . . An)

(16)

Equating both sides of equation (21) element for element would


produce a system of twelve linear equations in six or less unknowns, the d0(. T o yield a unique set of solutions, several of
these equations must be eliminated as identities or as redundancies
of other equations.
Notice that the top row of both sides of equation (21) is null.
Also, for each of the matrix products Bit all of the translational
information (the at and s ( ), is contained in the elements of the
first column. Remembering that there are three translational

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3 1 1

degrees of freedom in space, it should be expected that there


would be three equations representing this information. For this
reason, the matrix equation of approximation, equation (21),
will lie separated into its translational components
E-n == Bin,

En =

En S

Bm,

-B

product of some antisymmetric matrix, Qlt and the orthogonal


matrix, B,:

E = QJh
Qua

and its rotational components

li

E-23
E33
Ea

22

En
En

1 -

eJ)

B12 -2
Bu,
Bu,

! -

1 -

B123
Bm
B, 43

7i124
Bm
1 >144
-

(23)
The matrix eciuation of approximation will be completely
satisfied if and only if both of these conditions are satisfied. The
first condition gives explicitly three of the required equations.
The three equations representing the rotational information must
now be extracted from the second condition, equation (23).
The (3 X 3) submatrices of equation (23), henceforth called the
Bubmatrices of rotation, have several interesting properties.
Thus, the submatrices of rotation of A< are orthogonal, i.e., for
any A , the transpose and the inverse are identical. This can be
seen by comparing equations (24) and (5).
1
A . R

C O S di
-at
Si sin otj sin di cos
Si cos a ;
sin 6i sin a.-

sin di
cos i cos a i
cos di sin a ,

Since the first column does not affect the submatrices in any
product of the form A,Aj+i . . . A l: , the submatrix in a product of
this type will also be orthogonal. The matrix B1 therefore is
orthogonal with respect to its submatrix of rotation.
Also, by the definition of an antisymmetric matrix
and

Qu

(25)

= 0

Qe of equation (13) is antisymmetric. A useful theorem with


regard to such matrices states that, if Q is antisymmetric and H'
is the transpose of H, then the product,
Hi = HQH<

(26)

is also antisymmetric [3].


Consider now the definition of the B { matrices involved in the
left-hand side of the matrix equation of approximation
Bi = (AiA,

(27)

. . . Ai iQo^i A-iA)cW<

The insertion of a factor equal to the unit matrix -nail not affect
this equality
I =

(AiAi,

Bi =

(AiA2 ,

Ai-i)-\A,A,_
A>-i)Qe\{AiA2

/Tr-,)
.

Ai^KAiA,

I H ) ]

(28)
(Ai..
Bi =

(AiA,

. . . Ii-i)Qe(AiA.,

An-iA,t)ddi

. . . A^)-'Biddi

(29)

If, in this equation, the inverse expression were replaced by a


similar transpose expression, the theorem of eciuation (26) could
be applied directly. However, since the inverse of an orthogonal
matrix is its transpose, it will not affect the submatrices of rotation to write
B{

(AiA,

. . . Ai-i-)Qo(AiA2

. . .

Ai-i)'B,a

(30)

It is not claimed that this equality holds true for all elements, but
only with respect to the submatrices of rotation.
Since (A1A2 . . . Ai-i) is a nonsingular matrix, the theorem on
antisymmetric matrices can now be applied. The matrices, Bit
and also their weighted sum, E, can thus be seen to be the

312

J U N E

19 6 4

Qm

\Bm

7?I23
Bm
Bu 3

j,32

\B 142

By.
Bi:
Bi:

(32)

This is a very important step and is the vital link in the isolation
of the three rotational equations.
Setting this reconstructed ^-matrix into equation (21) yields
the following eciuation:
0

E21

Q132B132
Ql42-7?142

<2l327?133
Q112B143

$132-^134
Q142B141

En

Q132B122
Q143B112

Q132B123
Q143B1M

Q132B124
Q143B1U

En

Q112B122
+ Q143B132

Q142B122
+ Q143B133

Ql427?124
+ Q143B134

0
-121
B131
Bm

0
1 - B122

B13,
- Bl42

0
B123
1 B133

Bus

0
- Bl24
- Bl3i
1 - Bu,

(33)

sin a j
>
cos OCi
(24)

Qik = ~Qtj

-Qi-Qu
0

-Qn-2
0

(22)

(31)

In this equation, all of the B\jt elements are known quantities,


as evaluated from the initial estimates and equation (17). The
three elements of the first column form the three translational
equations. The only quantities not already accounted for are the
Qm, Qi42, and Qii3. If these quantities were known, then the entire matrix equation would be completely satisfied. This will be
done by the proper choice of the three rotational equations
E32 = Q\y2Bl22

Q143B142

E42 = QmBm + Q143B132 =


E43 =

Ql42Sl23

Q143B133

B132

Bm

(34)

~ Bli3

Although any three elements of the submatrix, not all in the


same row, would have determined the entire submatrix, these
three equations have been chosen because of the facility involved
in indexing the digital computer.
Up to this point, the derivation has been quite involved.
However, in essence all that has been done can be summarized in
two steps: (a) The matrix equation of approximation was written
as a function of the initial estimates, the link parameters, and the
errors involved, ddi. (6) Six linear equations were isolated for
the evaluation of these error terms.
Before proceeding with a solution of these six simultaneous
linear equations, a few observations must be made about the
convergence of the iteration process. With enough iterations,
assuming that the initial estimates are sufficiently close, the system will converge so that Bi is the unit matrix. The only exception to this is at a deadpoint of the mechanism's operation [4].
Assuming that the system does converge, the ddi will all go to zero
to give

Bi

1
0
0
0

0
B122
0
0

0
B123
B133
0

0
Bl2l
B134
Bm

(35)

The orthogonality conditions 011 the submatrix require that for


any two rows or columns [3]
v, v* = 0

and

v,- v, = 1

(36)

Applying this to the bottom row shows that


(Bi U y- = 1

or

Bm

(37)

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Repeated applications show that for the entire Bi matrix

Bi =

1
0
0
0

0
1
0
0

0
0
0
1

0
0
1
0

(38)

If the system were to converge on one of the foregoing forms which


is not the unit matrix, the linkage would not be closed properly.
For this reason it will be necessary to add the three diagonal elements as additional equations. This makes a total of nine simultaneous linear equations in six or fewer unknowns, the dd^
Written in matrix form, these equations appear as follows:
Bin
Bm
Bui
B 222
B 232
Bu 2
Bm
B213

B 321 .
B33) .
Bin .
B322 .
B332 .
B342
^333
B343 .

B244

B344

dd2
dd3

B,,
B ,1
Bn 41
B,2

- Bm
- Bl31
-

.41
Bin
B132
- #142
1 B133

Bia
1 Biu

1
=

En42
B 33
Bn 43
Bna

dd

(39)

(40)

In general, this system of nine equations, MD = V, in six or


However, since the entire
less unknowns has no exact solution.
method revolves about an iterative approach, no significant, error
will be introduced if the system is solved for the closest approximation of a solution to all nine equations in the root-meansquare sense. All that is required to do this is to premultiply
both sides of equation (40) by the transpose of the Af-matrix, 3
M'MD

M'V

(41)

The matrix of coefficients is now square and, assuming that it is


nonsingular, it may be inverted to give
D = (M'M)~1MiV

(42)

This D-matrix gives explicitly the n 1 unknown error terms,


ddf
When the error terms ddi have been evaluated, they may be
added to the initial estimates 0; to give an improved approximation of the exact values of the pair variables. It must be remembered that, by the use of the small angle approximations, the
ddi have been evaluated in radians. If greater accuracy is desired, these new approximations ma}' be used as estimates 0,-, and
the entire process may be repeated. The iteration process may
be continued in this manner until the correction terms tZ0; are all
smaller than the desired accuracy limits. A t this point the
mechanism has been completely solved (the 0,- are known) for
only the first position of the input link.
T o solve the mechanism for a new position, di maj r be incremented by a small amount., Adi, and the previously calculated di
can be used as initial estimates for the 0,- of the next position.
After a few iterations by the same method, these values should
converge to the proper values of 0f for the new position. This
assumes that the increments in 8i are taken sufficiently small.

Extension of Results
If, as indicated in the example, Fig. 2, the translational freedoms of a mechanism are described by prismatic pairs, it will be
necessary to extend the foregoing derivation.
3

Proof is given in [4], pp. 4446.

Atei)/U(0s

+ ds{) . . . A(0 + ddn) = I

+ dd2) . . .

(43)

where s,- is the initial estimate of the prismatic-pair variable and


dSj is the error involved.
The A j transformation matrix for this pair is essentially the
same as before. However, the angle
is known exactly, and the
error is in the s r t e r m .
Following the same plan of attack which was used previous^',
this transformation matrix can be shown to be the sum of two
matrices

On defining M as the foregoing [(9) X (n 1)] matrix of coefficients Bijh D as the column matrix or vector of the unknowns
ddi, and V as the column matrix of constants B\jk, equation (39)
may be expressed as
MD = V

If the only prismatic pair is on the input variable, there is no


problem. The solution can be handled exactly as before. Since
the mechanism is analyzed one point at a time (si is fixed), the
prismatic pair does not affect the variables of the iteration process.
A new problem arises, however, when one of the other pairs,
for instance pair i, is prismatic. The loop equation is still the
same, but the pair variables are not, since

+ ds() S Ai

dAjisi)

bSi

dSi

(44)

SI =

where A { is, as before, the transformation matrix evaluated at the


initial estimate of the pair variable.
If another operator matrix is introduced to perform the differentiation
Mi(Si)

(45)

QJi

then the operator matrix can be evaluated and is found to be

Qs

0
1

0
0
0
0

0
0
0
0

0
0
0
0

(46

Condensing and rearranging this information shows that


A,(s,-) S a + Q,dSi)AI

(47)

The only effect which the prismatic pair has on the matrix
equation of approximation, therefore, is to change the definition of
the corresponding term, the B,-matrix for that pair:
Bi =

(AiI2

li-iQji

. . . AJdst

(48)

The inclusion of a prismatic pair produces no other changes in


the method of attack. The submatrix of rotation in Qs is trivially
antisymmetric, and the same nine equations may be isolated as
before. If it is remembered that the pair variable is s { and the
error term is rfsi; any number of prismatic pairs may be handled
in this same manner.
If other than binary links are included, a mechanism will still be
closed, although containing more than one loop.
Of course, when such a mechanism is encountered, each loop
may be analyzed independently. However, this presents a tremendous task of cross-correlating all of the resulting data t o
produce the desired output curves.
A saving in time is realized if it is noticed that the several loops
may be analyzed simultaneously. The matrix equation of approximation maj' be written for each loop just as before. Solving
these will lead to nine equations for each loop. Since some of the
variables will be repeated, there will alwaj's be fewer unknowns
than there are equations. The several equations may then be
solved simultaneously by the same methods as before. This will
produce error terms for all the variables of the mechanism, and
the iteration process may be continued exactly as before.

Numerical Results
T o test the feasibility of this method of analysis, a digital computer program was written by the authors for use on an I B M 709
digital computer [4]. The program was tested on a wide variety

Journal of Applied Mechanics


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JUNE

1 9 6 4

3 1 3

Table 1
Iteration

1st

2nd

de2 ( d e g )
dsz ( i n . )
d6i ( d e g )
dss (in.)
de 6 ( d e g )
ds7 ( i n . )

-5.15
0.0012
0.302
-0.863
-5.56
-0.0645

-0.163
-0.112
0.255
0.170
-0.236
-0.151

150

<

1ZJ
D.
t

v\

\ \
\ \
120
\ \
\
\
\
\
\
\

/
/

30

V \5 7

60

-1.5 H

/
/

J>

Q.
-2.0 113
O

/
/

120
180
240
300
INPUT ANGLE, 9, - DEGREES

Fig. 5

Fig. 6 shows the results of the c o m p u t e r analysis of the Bricard


mechanism shown in Fig. 3, equation ( 4 ) . T h e s e graphs were
also plotted f r o m data accurate within 0.0001 deg. As expected,
the iteration process converged in f o u r iterations f o r each position
until
reached 105 deg; it failed t o converge f o r 110 deg. A s
shown in Fig. 6 b o t h 0 2 and 04 approach a vertical a s y m p t o t e at
0i = 106.4 deg. This implies t h a t the relative velocities of joint 2
and joint 4 are b o t h undefined at that position and, b y definition,
the mechanism has a deadpoint. This explains w h y the process
failed to converge.

Conclusions
T h e foregoing method has been derived in a general w a y and is
applicable t o a wide variety of problems. Its t w o disadvantages
are that it requires initial estimates for the values of the variables,
and that the iteration process will n o t converge at a deadpoint of
the mechanism's operation. T h e initial estimates usually d o n o t
raise m a j o r difficulties since t h e y d o n o t require m u c h accuracy.

JUNE

300

1 9 6 4

Ii
1
1

/S

240

1
<D

N!

S6

180
UJ
CE
O
U1
O

L - -

1
1

1
1
1
1

-e<

120

1
1
1
1
1
1

60

1
1
30
INPUT ANGLE,

Output curves of 3C, R mechanism

T h e computer program was used t o p e r f o r m the analysis on the


3 C , R mechanism of Fig. 2, equation ( 3 ) . T h e total calculation
time was 1.92 min. Although space does n o t permit a detailed
listing of the numerical data involved, the curves of the t w o o u t p u t motions, 06 and s7, are shown in Fig. 5. T h e data used t o draw
these curves were accurate t o within 0.0001 deg and 0.0001 in.
T o achieve tliis accuracy it was necessary t o make only four
iterations at each position. T h e rate of convergence of the iteration process can be seen f r o m the data in T a b l e 1. I t lists the
correction factors, the ddi and ds;, for each of the f o u r iterations
m a d e in position one. These d a t a are typical f o r the m a n y p r o b lems tried and show a v e r y satisfactory rate of convergence.

/
//

360

of mechanisms, planar and spatial, and p r o d u c e d v e r y satisfactory


results. I t was found that m o s t mechanisms coulcl be analyzed
t h r o u g h o u t an entire cycle in increments of 5 deg with a total
calculation time of a b o u t 2 min, a total cost of a b o u t 310.00.
T h e p r o g r a m will give the m o t i o n of all joints of the mechanism
t o an accuracy of six significant figures. Copies of tliis p r o g r a m
are available u p o n request f r o m the authors.

314

360

CO
111
:n
0
0.0 z

-0.5 z*
0
H
<
-1.0 _i
z

0.000001600
0.000000094
0.000000516
-0.000000173
0.000000066
0.000000111

'rtfl

\
\

/ /

/
/

60

\
/
\
/
\y /

4th

3rd
0.000596
0.000740
-0.000569
-0.000748
0.000537
0.000796

0-5

180

o
z

Convergence

Fig. 6

120

90
e,

DEGREES

Displacement curves of Bricard mechanism

Usually the process will converge if the estimates are within 15


t o 20 cleg. T h e deadpoints m a y be approached f r o m either side,
but at the deadpoint itself the ( i l f ' i l f ) - m a t r i x is singular and
cannot be inverted.
T h e main advantages of the m e t h o d are its generality and that
all calculations m a y be performed on a digital computer.
T h e displacement analysis of a linkage, however, is only the
first step in a complete anafysis. Further efforts t o w a r d velocity,
acceleration, and static-force anatyses of spatial linkages are n o w
in progress and will be the o b j e c t of later publications.

Acknowledgments
This investigation was supported b y the N a t i o n a l

Science

F o u n d a t i o n under Grant G-19704 t o Northwestern Universitj r .

References
1 J. Denavit and R . S. Hartenberg, " A Kinematic Notation for
Lower Pair Mechanisms Based on Matrices," JOUBNAL OP APPLIED
MECHANICS, v o l . 2 2 , TBANS. A S M E , v o l . 77, 1955, p . 2 1 5 - 2 2 1 .

2 J. Denavit, "Description and Displacement Analysis of Mechanisms Based on ( 2 X 2 ) Dual Matrices," P h D Dissertation, Northwestern University, Evanston, 111., June, 1956.
3 G. A. Korn and T . M . ICorn, Mathematical Handbook for Scientists and Engineers, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York,
N . Y . , 1961.
4 J. J. Uicker, Jr., "Displacement Analysis of Spatial Mechanisms
by an Iterative Method Based on 4 X 4 Matrices," M S Thesis,
Northwestern University, Evanston, 111., June, 1963.
5 K . S. Kunz, Numerical Analysis, McGraw-Hill Book Company,
Inc., New York, N . Y 1957.
6 L . S. Marks, Mechanical Engineers' Handbook, McGraw-Hill
Book Company, Inc., New York, N . Y., 1941.
7 J. E. Shigley, Kinematic Analysis of Mechanisms, McGraw-Hill
Book Company, Inc., New York, N. Y., 1959.
8 C, R . Wylie, Jr., Advanced Engineering Mathematics, McGrawHill Book Company, Inc., New York, N . Y 1951.
9 H. Goldstein, Classical Mechanics, Addison-Wesley Publishing
Company, Cambridge, Mass., 1950.

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