The geometry of a space curve, including its curvature and torsion, can be uniquely defined in terms of only one parameter which can be the arc length parameter. Using the differential geometry equations, the Frenet frame of the space curve is completely defined using the curve equation and the arc length parameter only. Therefore, when Euler angles are used to describe the curve geometry, these angles are no longer independent and can be expressed in terms of one parameter as field variables. The relationships between Euler angles used in the definition of the curve geometry are developed in a closed-differential form expressed in terms of the curve curvature and torsion. While the curvature and torsion of a space curve are unique, the Euler-angle representation of the space curve is not unique because of the noncommutative nature of the finite rotations. Depending on the sequence of Euler angles used, different expressions for the curvature and torsion can be obtained in terms of Euler angles, despite the fact that only one Euler angle can be treated as an independent variable, and such an independent angle can be used as the curve parameter instead of its arc length, as discussed in this paper. The curve differential equations developed in this paper demonstrate that the curvature and torsion expressed in terms of Euler angles do not depend on the sequence of rotations only in the case of infinitesimal rotations. This important conclusion is consistent with the definition of Euler angles as generalized coordinates in rigid body dynamics. This paper generalizes this definition by demonstrating that finite rotations cannot be directly associated with physical geometric properties or deformation modes except in the cases when infinitesimal-rotation assumptions are used.
Noncommutativity of Finite Rotations and Definitions of Curvature and Torsion
Contributed by the Design Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF COMPUTATIONAL AND NONLINEAR DYNAMICS. Manuscript received March 5, 2019; final manuscript received May 1, 2019; published online July 15, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Xiaobo Yang.
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Shabana, A. A., and Ling, H. (July 15, 2019). "Noncommutativity of Finite Rotations and Definitions of Curvature and Torsion." ASME. J. Comput. Nonlinear Dynam. September 2019; 14(9): 091005. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4043726
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