RPI-MATLAB-Simulator: A tool for efficient research and practical teaching in multibody dynamics


Jedediyah Williams, Ying Lu, Sarah Niebe, Michael Andersen, Kenny Erleben, and Jeff C. Trinkle


We present the RPI-MATLAB-Simulator (RPIsim) as an open source tool for research and education in multibody dynamics. RPIsim is designed and organized to be extended. Its modular design allows users to edit or add new components without worrying about extra implementation details.

RPIsim has two main goals:

  1. Provide an intuitive and easily extendable platform for research and education in multibody dynamics
  2. Maintain an evolving code base of useful algorithms and analysis tools for multibody dynamics problems.

Although research often focuses on a specific subset of problems, work too often begins with developing software in a broader scope simply to realize a test bed for research to begin. It is our hope that RPIsim alleviates some of this burden by decreasing development time, thusly increasing efficiency in research.

Further, we aim to provide a practical teaching tool. Because it is a fully working simulator, and since it offers the instant gratification of visualized contact dynamics, RPIsim offers students the opportunity to experiment and explore dynamics in the powerful environment of MATLAB. With multiple built-in simulation methods, and support for a simulation data convention, RPIsim facilitates the fair comparison of methods, including those being developed with RPIsim.

Read more about the project here