Stochastic modeling of uncertain mass characteristics in rigid body dynamics

Lanae A. Richter, Marc Mignolet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper focuses on the formulation, assessment, and application of a modeling strategy of uncertainty on the mass characteristics of rigid bodies, i.e. mass, position of center of mass, and inertia tensor. These characteristics are regrouped into a 4×4 matrix the elements of which are represented as random variables with joint probability density function derived following the maximum entropy framework. This stochastic model is first shown to satisfy all properties expected of the mass and tensor of inertia of rigid bodies. Its usefulness and computational efficiency are next demonstrated on the behavior of a rigid body in pure rotation exhibiting significant uncertainty in mass distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-53
Number of pages11
JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
StatePublished - Mar 15 2017


  • Mass uncertainty
  • Maximum entropy
  • Rigid body dynamics
  • Stochastic modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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