Optimal damping coefficient for a class of continuous contact models

Mohammad Poursina, Parviz E. Nikravesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this study, we develop an analytical formula to approximate the damping coefficient as a function of the coefficient of restitution for a class of continuous contact models. The contact force is generated by a logical point-to-point force element consisting of a linear damper connected in parallel to a spring with Hertz force–penetration characteristic, while the exponent of deformation of the Hertz spring can vary between one and two. In this nonlinear model, it is assumed that the bodies start to separate when the contact force becomes zero. After separation, either the restitution continues or a permanent penetration is achieved. Therefore, this model is capable of addressing a wide range of impact problems. Herein, we apply an optimization strategy on the solution of the equations governing the dynamics of the penetration, ensuring that the desired restitution is reproduced at the time of separation. Furthermore, based on the results of the optimization process along with analytical investigations, the resulting optimal damping coefficient is analytically expressed at the time of impact in terms of system properties such as the effective mass, penetration velocity just before the impact, coefficient of restitution, and the characteristics of the Hertz spring model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-188
Number of pages20
JournalMultibody System Dynamics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Coefficient of restitution
  • Continuous contact model
  • Damping coefficient
  • Hertz spring
  • Impact
  • Multibody systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization


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