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# ME 6590 Multibody Dynamics

## Conversion of Direction Cosines to Euler Parameters

(Reference: H. Baruh, Analytical Dynamics, McGraw-Hill, 1999)

Given the coordinate transformation matrix [C ] , the Euler parameters may be computed
as follows. First, recall that [C ] may be written as

## (12 22 32 42 ) 2(1 2 3 4 ) 2(1 3 2 4 )

C 2(1 2 3 4 ) (12 22 32 42 ) 2( 2 3 1 4 )

2(1 3 2 4 ) 2( 2 3 1 4 ) (12 22 32 42 )

## C11 C22 C33 12 22 32 3 42

12 22 32 42 4 42 (1)

4 42 1

## C32 C23 41 4 (4)

So, one way of converting the direction cosines into Euler parameters is to calculate

## 4 12 C11 C22 C33 1

and then
C32 C23 C13 C31 C21 C12
1 2 3
4 4 4 4 4 4

## However, this solution is singular when 4 0 and is ill-conditioned when 4 is small.

To omit all singularities, we make the following observations:
412 C11 C22 C33 1 (5)

## 4 22 C11 C22 C33 1 (6)

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4 32 C11 C22 C33 1 (7)

## 4 42 C11 C22 C33 1 (8)

Using Eqs. (5)-(8), solve for the largest of 1 , 2 , 3 , and 4 . Then, using Eqs. (2)-(4)
solve for the "other" parameters.

Note: The parameters cannot be found exclusively using Eqs. (5)-(8), because the
algebraic signs of the parameters cannot be determined.

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