C_R

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3 years, 9 days

MaplePrimes Activity


These are Posts that have been published by C_R

I have polished up findings with custom components to share it here:

Optimized code generated with Maple’s codegen package cannot be used in the same way as it was possible with older versions of MapleSim’s Custom Component Template.

Intermediate variables `tx` (where x is an integer) of the optimized code are interpreted as physical parameters in the current template version and not as variables. This makes sense and is more consistent with MapleSim’s definition of variables and parameters, but leads to errors in MapleSim.

The attached model shows how optimized code can be generated for the current template and compares an older, still working (!) template with the new one.

The attached worksheet contains commands to programmatically generate optimized code for the current Custom Component Template.

CustomComponentTemplates_comparision.msim

Optimized_code_for_custom_component_template.mw

 

Combing a Prismatic Joint component with an Elasto Gap component does not always provide correct results. Incorrectly combined (red mass below), a force is generated although the distance between the flanges is greater than the relaxed spring length. A force is exerted (instead of no force is exerted as stated here) on the mass which leads to a smaler deflection (expected are 9.81 m).

This happened to me although I connected flange_a to flange_a and flange_b to flange_b in configruation A bellow. Configuration B works with inverted flanges and configuration C works with inverted unit vector of the prismatic joint. By reversing the direction of gravity, configuration A becomes a valid configuration and configurations B and C become invalid configurations.

It seems that in invalid configruations the value of the  flange distance s_rel can have a large magnitude but is negative in sign which generates significant forces although there is no contact of flanges.

So far for the observations.

 

Would a change of the contact condition

prevent invalid configurations or do we have to live with it for principal reasons that I am over looking?

If so, I don't see a foolproof method to avoid invalid configurations. Instead, I can only suggest measuring the flange distance of the Elasto Gap component as in the attached. If negative values of large amplitude occur, the configuration is invalid.

Assuming that a beginner would connect intuetively flange_a to flange_a and flange_b to flange_b, there is a chance of 50% that the configuration is invalid (A instead of C). This is too much to be acceptable, especially since verifying results in complex assemblies is often not possible.

It is worth noting that the contact condition comes from the underlying Modelica component and not from MapleSoft.

Prismatic_Joint_with_Elasto_Gap.msim

MapleSim is a mature product. The rich component library leaves little room for improvement for wide range of applications. It is understandable that latest product releases focused on specialized toolboxes and performance improvements.

Here is what I think could be beneficial for many users, which is not related to performance, but can help improve the user experience:

  1. Crossing connection lines: A view option to render a crossing connection line with an arc at the crossing point of two connection lines of the same type. Right-click on a connection line might be enough.
     

    -> To avoid misinterpretations of routing in crowded model diagrams
     
  2. Parameters: An option to populate or reset changes in the parameter pane to the parameter default settings view and vice versa

    -> When testing or optimizing a model, sometimes changed parameters should become default values or be reset. Doing this manually is error prone and takes time.
     
  3. Component flip: Selecting more than one component including connection lines and applying a flip to all of them

    -> When building a model, it can happen that a nicely laid out arrangement of components needs to be mirrored or rotated in its entirety. Doing this component by component and connection by connection is a lot of work that can be saved by this option.
     
  4. Initial conditions: An option in the view menu to highlight components where ICs have been changed from ignore to treat as guess or to strictly enforce
     

    -> ICs are set for many purposes. In addition to defining ICs needed for simulations, this can include extracting equations, testing different model states, or temporarily "immobilizing" a model during assembly, to name a few. Undoing a tentative change can easily be forgotten. Combining existing models that work on their own into a new more complex model often results in an overly constrained model that either cannot be assembled or does not simulate.
    In debugging a model, ICs of all components must be individually inspected. This takes time. A quick overview that shows components where ICs are not set to ignore would be very helpful in debugging models.
     
  5. Undo Create subsystem: A reverse operation that inserts the contents of a subsystem into a parent subsystem.

    -> With the evolution of a model it is sometimes useful to exclude or include existing components from or to a subsystem. For this purpose, an undo create subsystem operation should preserve existing connections. A time saver.
     
  6. Subsystem ports: An option to align a subsystem port to the drawing grid to remove “micro” steps in connection lines
     

    -> For perfectionists who do not have the time to learn (and remember) how to fine-tune at the component level
     
  7. A history or log function of user actions changing a model, its parametrization or internal state.

    -> Often a model does not simulate at all or as desired after modifications. Restoring to a configuration that worked by undo only goes back to the last simulation performed. In such a situation, only reloading the latest file version and redoing modifications may restore the desired model, parametrization, or state. This takes time and migth be unsuccessful. A record of user actions would be a great help.
    History or log information in file format could also help MapleSim support to reproduce an error.

For me personally, reducing errors (4. > 7. > 2.) would improve the use experience much more than layouting aids (3. > 1., 5., 6.).

MapleSim is a fantastic tool to model multi-domain physical systems at a level that was unthinkable not so long ago. This post is about a simple problem that can be solved by hand, but where I failed with MapleSim using online resources.

For some time, I have been looking for answers to two questions:

  • How to control which variables (and parameters) are included in MapleSims equation exports? This question is crucial to derive forward and inverse kinematics.
  • Can the Equation Extraction App (in principle) provide a similar set of equations than the Multibody Analysis App? This question is rather academic until multidomain exports are desired (which the Multibody Analysis can’t provide).

The attached model helped me to clarify a few things and discover a real hidden secret (at least it was for me). I hope it can help others.

The model is a rather simple 3DOF mechanism. The task was to get a set of equations to derive the two rotations and the one displacement of the mechanism as a function of x,y,z coordinates.

After watching videos and inspecting models from the model gallery on inverse kinematics, I placed motion drivers for the input variables, added sensors for the output variables and wrapped the mechanism into a subsystem. However, as explained in more detail in the attachment, the set of exported variables was incomplete in both apps (AEs exports in the Equation Extraction Export and Position Constraints in the Multibody Analysis Export). Furthermore, the number of extracted equations did not match the three degrees of freedom.

After numerous trials it turned out that in addition to the motion drivers and sensors, initial conditions (ICs) had to be set. This is the hidden secret.  The crucial initial conditions (detailed in the attachment) are not required to assemble and run the model. So, introducing them temporarily for equation extraction is not obvious and never came to my mind. Setting ICs is, if I am not completely mistaken, also not highlighted in the documentation. This little trick of additionally setting initial conditions answered the above questions positively (at least for this 3DOF mechanism). In fact, it worked so well that all other failed attempts of conditioning the model for equations extraction worked immediately:

  • Immobilizing the assembly with a Fixed Frame (using parameters for the fixed frame position to represent input variables; the fixed frame can be inside or outside the subsystem model).
  • Using one Prescribed Translation component Instead of 3 motion drivers
  • Using variables to pass motion signals into the model subsystem instead of using signals and ports (using From variable and To Variable components)

These attempts underline the effort and the time spend to get the relevant equations for that simple problem. As it turned out, all approaches work but are not even required for the mechanism. The key to success was setting the ICs of the joints.  One can even strip the model down to its skeleton (removing all motion drivers and sensors as in the screen shot bellow) and still get the desired simple set of equations, provided the ICs are set.

 

It has to be noted, that the mechanically coupled (highlighted in yellow) prismatic joints contributed to the problems: MapleSim does not seem to take this mechanical constraint into account (as I would have expected). The ICs of both coupled components must be set to get the three equations containing all desired in and output variables.

If my finding is correct and of general relevance, I like to suggest including such kind of tips and tricks in training or reference material.  From an application engineer or developers’ perspective, knowing the underlying algorithms, its probably obvious what has to be done. But from a user’s perspective MaplsSim is a black box that works magically well in most cases. If it does not, trial and error is often the only alternative to make it work, because models are either too complex or too confidential to be shared with others.   

What I am addressing here is only the initial step of getting the desired equations. There is more to master. Save manipulation of equations too big to be inspected visually is also important. This has been well covered in several videos. Unfortunately, the quality of some of the footage does not allow to capture details of Maple commands. If possible, such material should be updated or replaced.

Overall, a collection of tips&tricks and dos&don’ts could establish some kind of best practice in deriving kinematics. If others would share their experience and findings, we all could save allot of time. A collection of valuable posts, questions, models, videos, and webinars could be a start. This collection not necessarily has to meet the high Maple standards of mathematical exactness and consistency. Engineers also accept pragmatic solutions to solve a problem.

If my findings are incorrect or you have better advise, please let us know.

MBA_and_equation_extraction.msim

Explorer 1 was the first satellite sent into space by the United States. It was a scientific instrument that led to the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belt. In order to keep its orientation, the satellite was spin stabilized. Unexpectedly, shortly after launch, Explorer 1 flipped the axis of rotation. The animation below shows, on the left, Explorer 1 in its initial state after launch, rotating about the axis of minimum moment of inertia. On the right side, 100 minutes later in the simulation, Explorer 1 rotates about the axis of maximum moment of inertia. This unintended behavior could not be explained immediately. Finally, structural damping in the four whip-like antennas was made responsible for the flip (explained here).

The flip can be reproduced with MapleSim using flexible beam components with damping enabled. Without damping and without slight angular misalignment at launch the flip does not manifest.

The simulation is only of qualitative nature since data of the antennas could not be found. On images of Explorer 1, the antennas look prebend and show large deflections of about 45 degrees under gravity. Since rotation of the satelite stretches the antennas, no modeling of large deflections needed to be considered in the simulation and rather stiff antennas (2 mm in diameter) without spheres at their ends were used. (Modeling large deflections with high fidelity might only be considered if the unfolding process of the antennas at launch is of interest. This should be modeled with several flexible beam components.)  

The graph bellow shows the evolution of the angular velocity in x direction. Conservation of angular momentum reduces the angular velocity when the satellite starts flipping towards a rotation about the axis of maximum moment of inertia.

Not long ago such simulations would have been worth a doctoral thesis. Today its rather straight forward to reproduce the flip with MapleSim.

Not so easy is the calculation of energy and angular momentum (for the purpose of observing how well numerics preserve physical quantities in rather long calculations. After all, the solver does not know the physical context). Such calculations would require access to the inertia matrix of the cylinder component including a coordinate transform into the frame of reference where the vector of rotation can be measured.

In case such calculations are possible with MapleSim, it would be nice if someone can update the model or at least indicate how calculations can be done.

Explorer_1_Parameters_and_links.mw

Explorer_1.msim

On a side note: I learned from the flip in an excellent series of lectures on dynamics. Wherever our professor could, he came up with animation in hardware. In this case, he could only provide an exciting story about the space race and sometimes fruitful mistakes in science. That’s why I still remember it.

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