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Title: Nonlinear mechanics of flexible cables in space robotic arms subject to complex physical environment
Authors: Liu, Y
Chen, J
Liu, J
Jing, X 
Keywords: Curved surface contact
Kirchhoff nonlinear mechanics
Slow rotation of joints
Strong nonlinear interference
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Springer
Source: Nonlinear dynamics, 2018, v. 94, no. 1, p. 649-667 How to cite?
Journal: Nonlinear dynamics 
Abstract: A nonlinear model of a special cable in space robotic arms is developed in space environment. The mechanic effects of control cables in powerful robots can often be neglected. However, in complex space multi-physics environments, involving ultra-low temperature, radiation, and other extreme conditions of outer space, the externally mounted cables (protected by shielding layers) can induce strong nonlinear interference to robot arms; and this can induce further small-range slow rotations or oscillations of the flexible joint of robots at a specific posture, which consequently affect the precision and operation performance of end effectors. Effective mathematical models on nonlinear mechanics of strong cables under multi-physics environments and their effects on weak robots have not been well developed yet. Complex key factors, such as low gravity, nonlinear friction, and unexpected curved surface constraints, have not been extensively investigated either. In this study, considering all these key factors, a Kirchhoff nonlinear mechanical model of cables in complex space environments is developed, and a relatively improved algorithm based on a trust-region strategy is proposed for solving this nonlinear model, based on which the geometry and terminal force of the modeled robot cable can be obtained. The validity and accuracy of the proposed algorithm and theoretical calculation results are verified via experiments. The theoretical findings revealed in this study are significant to future research on the slow rotations and oscillations of weak robot joints in space exploration with robotic arms.
ISSN: 0924-090X
EISSN: 1573-269X
DOI: 10.1007/s11071-018-4383-y
Rights: © The Author(s) 2018
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
The following publication Liu, Y., Chen, J., Liu, J., & Jing, X. (2018). Nonlinear mechanics of flexible cables in space robotic arms subject to complex physical environment. Nonlinear Dynamics, 94(1), 649-667 is available at
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