A uniform framework for rigid body dynamics and nonlinear structural dynamics is presented. The advocated approach is based on a rotationless formulation of rigid bodies, nonlinear beams and shells. In this connection, the specific kinematic assumptions are taken into account by the explicit incorporation of holonomic constraints. This approach facilitates the straightforward extension to flexible multibody dynamics by including additional constraints due to the interconnection of rigid and flexible bodies. We further address the design of energy-momentum schemes for the stable numerical integration of the underlying finite-dimensional mechanical systems.

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