This paper describes a very simple beam model, amenable to be used in multibody applications, for cases where the effects of torsion and shear are negligible.
This is the case of slender rods connecting different parts of many space mechanisms, models useful in polymer physics, computer animation, etc. The proposed new model follows a lumped parameter method that leads to a rotation-free formulation. Axial stiffness is represented by a standard nonlinear truss model, while bending is modeled with a force potential. Several numerical experiments are carried out in order to assess accuracy, which is usually the main drawback of this type of approach. Results reveal a remarkable accuracy in nonlinear dynamical problems, suggesting that the proposed model is a valid alternative to more sophisticated approaches.