In this paper we outline the analytical foundations of an approach for modeling interactions in dynamic systems. The method is based on impulsive constraints which can be employed to represent time-varying interaction of dynamic subsystems, and the transition between different phases of motion. Besides impulsive constraints, the analysis is based on Jourdain’s principle, and a kinematic representation of constrained mechanical systems which is related to this principle. Both finite and impulsive constraints are considered in a general manner, assuming that those can be nonlinear in velocities. It will be shown that Jourdain’s principle can create a simple and physically clear basis for such constrained motion problems. A classification of motions constrained by finite or impulsive constraints is discussed. An impulse-momentum level form of Jourdain’s principle is presented to handle impulsive constraints. An example of two robotic arms in cooperation is employed to illustrate the material presented.

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