Acta Mechanica

, Volume 168, Issue 1–2, pp 1–19 | Cite as

Concepts for modeling impacts without friction

  • Ch. GlockerEmail author


There are three basic equations in mechanics for treating collisions: the law of impact, kinematic compatibility, and energetic consistency. In this paper, the conditions are examined under which a natural extension of the dynamics at an impact is possible without taking additional impact laws, and which additional assumptions have to be made to solve the impact for different classes of systems. It will be shown that Newton’s law of impact for two colliding point masses can be derived from the concept of energy conservation and the principle of maximum dissipation, and has therefore not to be regarded as an independent equation. Moreover, it can be assigned to single-contact impacts in multibody systems as soon as the classical definition of perfect constraints is being extended to impulsive dynamics and unilateral contacts. It will further be shown that the principle of maximum dissipation leads to a unique post-impact velocity in the case of multi-contact collisions. In all other cases, however, the velocities remain undetermined, and laws of impact have to be postulated as additional and independent equations, whereas the classic definition of the restitution coefficient as a dissipation parameter can still be kept.


Energy Conservation Additional Assumption Natural Extension Point Masse Multibody System 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IMES – Institute of Mechanical SystemsSwiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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