AbstractContinuous cables are widespread in various fields, and mechanical analysis is an important issue in their application. The structural responses of frictional continuous cable systems under external loads are related to the load path. The influence of load path has seldom been considered in the existing analysis methods. This paper proposes a novel approach for the mechanical analysis of continuous cable systems considering the influence of load path. The constitutive relation of the frictional continuous cables was derived, in which the sliding amount parameters were eliminated. The computational frameworks for both definite and indefinite load path cases were proposed. For a definite load path, the structural responses can be uniquely determined by successively trials and modifications of the nodal sliding state. For an indefinite load path, a formula of all the possible structural responses was derived, and the ranges of the structural responses can be obtained. All computations in the approach were converted to matrix operations. The effectiveness and practicability of the proposed approach were demonstrated by two typical numerical examples.

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