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International Journal of Rotating Machinery
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 143523, 9 pages
Research Article

Model Reduction of the Flexible Rotating Crankshaft of a Motorcycle Engine Cranktrain

DIEM, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bologna, via Fontanelle Street 40, 47121 Forlì, Italy

Received 15 September 2010; Revised 26 February 2011; Accepted 21 March 2011

Academic Editor: Jerzy Sawicki

Copyright © 2011 Stefano Ricci et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper addresses the development of an elastodynamic model of a motorcycle engine cranktrain aimed at accurately evaluating the interactions between the crankshaft and the engine block, thus allowing an improved structural design. A rigid multibody model is first implemented and simulated; only kinematic joints are involved at this stage, leading to a statically determinate assembly of the mechanism. Such a modelling approach prevents the loads at certain interface locations to be evaluated; furthermore, high-frequency dynamic effects cannot be predicted. These drawbacks can be removed by introducing bushing-like elements and/or modelling component flexibility. In this paper, this latter aspect is the objective of the investigation; in particular, a finite element model of the crankshaft is implemented as a replacement for the corresponding rigid member. The well-established Craig-Bampton model reduction technique is used to represent the elastodynamic behaviour of the component with a limited number of coordinates. The mode selection procedure is emphasized here: a measure of modal dynamic importance, namely the effective interface mass fraction, is used to rank fixed-interface normal modes based upon their contribution to loads at the substructure interface; choosing the modal base according to such ranking leads to a minimal yet accurate representation.