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The Contact Dynamics method: A nonsmooth story

Abstract : When velocity jumps are occurring, the dynamics is said to be nonsmooth. For instance, in collections of contacting rigid bodies, jumps are caused by shocks and dry friction. Without compliance at the interface, contact laws are not only non-differentiable in the usual sense but also multi-valued. Modeling contacting bodies is of interest in order to understand the behavior of numerous mechanical systems such as flexible multi-body systems, granular materials or masonry. These granular materials behave puzzlingly either like a solid or a fluid and a description in the frame of classical continuous mechanics would be welcome though far to be satisfactory nowadays. Jean-Jacques Moreau greatly contributed to convex analysis, functions of bounded variations, differential measure theory, sweeping process theory, definitive mathematical tools to deal with nonsmooth dynamics. He converted all these underlying theoretical ideas into an original nonsmooth implicit numerical method called Contact Dynamics (CD); a robust and efficient method to simulate large collections of bodies with frictional contacts and impacts. The CD method offers a very interesting complementary alternative to the family of smoothed explicit numerical methods, often called Distinct Elements Method (DEM). In this paper developments and improvements of the CD method are presented together with a critical comparative review of advantages and drawbacks of both approaches.
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Frédéric Dubois, Vincent Acary, Michel Jean. The Contact Dynamics method: A nonsmooth story . Comptes Rendus Mécanique, Elsevier Masson, 2018, 346 (3), pp.247-262. ⟨10.1016/j.crme.2017.12.009⟩. ⟨hal-01676287⟩

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