Author: Ahmed A. Shabana
Publisher: Cambridge University Press – 384 pages
Book Review by: Sonu Chandiram

Providing a wealth of information with examples and practical applications, this book is useful to practicing engineers, researchers, senior undergraduate students, graduate students, and others, particularly to those who have interest in multibody system dynamics.

This fourth edition released in 2013 (with the first edition published in 1988) has, among other new material, the following:

  • Detailed derivations of some important equations, and
  • An additional chapter that provides new explanations on some of the fundamental issues addressed in previous editions.

If this is the first time you have encountered this important book in mechanical engineering, it introduces multibody dynamics with an emphasis on flexible body dynamics.

Mechanical and structural systems (including those that consist of interconnected rigid and deformable components) such as the following are covered, and explained with detailed and helpful mathematical and physical formulas in this book:

  • Mechanisms
  • Micro-machines
  • Space structures
  • Robots and robotic manipulators
  • Vehicles

“The dynamics of multibody systems are highly nonlinear, presenting complex problems that in most cases can be solved only with computer-based techniques,” the author Professor Ahmed Shabana writes. He has organized the 380+ pages of material into the following chapters, with additional information provided in the Appendix and References sections:



  1. Introduction
  2. Reference Kinematics
  3. Analytical Techniques
  4. Mechanics of Deformable Bodies
  5. Floating Frame of Reference Formulation
  6. Finite-Element Formulation
  7. The Large Deformation Problem
  8. Concepts and Essential Details

Appendix: Linear Algebra



In essence, this book, as outlined in its Preface, is about “the methods for the nonlinear analysis of physical and mechanical systems developed for use on modern digital computers that provide the means for accurate analysis of large-scale systems under dynamic loading conditions/”

Here are some of the key concepts and points discussed in this book:

  • The concept of replacing an actual system by an equivalent model made up fro0m discrete bodies having known elastic and inertia properties
  • The actual systems in fact, form multibody systems consisting of interconnected rigid and deformable models, each of which may undergo large translational and rotational displacements
  • The dynamic equations that govern the motion of these systems are highly nonlinear and in most cases cannot be solved analytically in a closed form. One must r4esort to the numerical solution of the dynamic equations



Ahmed A. Shabana is a University Distinguished Professor and the Richard and Loan Hill  Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of several books and serves on the editorial boards of several journals.

He served as the Chair of the ASME Design Engineering Division, and he is the Founding Chair of the ASME Technical Committee on Multibody Systems and Nonlinear Dynamics and the Founding Chair of the ASME International Conference on Multibody Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics, and Control.

He has received several awards, including the Humboldt Prize, the Fulbright Research Scholar Award, the ASME d’Alembert Award, and Honorary Doctorate Degree, Honorary Professorship, and Best Paper awards, as well as several teaching and research awards from the University of Illinois at Chicago.