Engineering Dynamics

Introduction
Engineering dynamics is often the second topic of study (after engineering statics), within the more general discipline of engineering mechanics. It is fundamental (but not limited to) most branches of engineering, including aerospace, aeronautical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. It is also the basis for more advanced study in vibration and mechanics of materials within civil engineering, engineering mechanics, and mechanical engineering.

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Prerequisites
Prerequisites for studying dynamics include a background in calculus, engineering physics, and engineering statics. Students will make use of the mathematical principles learned in calculus and analytical geometry, as well as the classical mechanics’ principles, studied in physics and statics. In reality, much of dynamics is an extension of physics principles applied to engineering structures and machines.

Definition
Engineering mechanics dynamics is a fundamental building block to a clear understanding of motion in real-world engineering applications. Dynamics deals with the forces and interactions that occur in rigid and elastic bodies that are in dynamic equilibrium. It is the analysis of how two and three-dimensional simple structures react and support the applied loads that occur during motion. A job as an engineer can be very rewarding as is shown in this post about the highest-paying engineering jobs.

Topics of Study
During the study of dynamics, the student will learn how to apply Newton’s Laws to simple engineering systems. Concepts of rectilinear and angular motion will be applied during the study of particle kinematics. Determining equations of motion and applying work and energy principles are also important concepts to be learned. You will also learn much about the world of plastic engineering, another highly interesting field.

Principles of vector mechanics and matrix algebra will be also be used throughout the study of engineering dynamics. Introduction to beginning vibration theory and time response analysis will form the basis for possible further study in mechanics of materials and vibration. Finally, understanding the motion of non-rigid systems will typically conclude the study of dynamics at the elementary level.

Vector Analysis (Vector Mechanics)
Vector analysis is a critical skill that will be used throughout the study of engineering dynamics. Often, it is convenient for students or professionals to resolve single forces into two specific forces. Known as components, these forces, when they act together, will be having the exact same external effects on bodies as their original force (the resultant).

This process is derived from the study of physics and is called vector analysis or vector mechanics. When specific forces are being shown or used as vectors, it’s key to demonstrate clearly the distinction between the resultant and its related components. The resultant may be indicated in color or maybe as a solid line while the components may appear as dashed lines, or, of course, vice versa.

Free Body Diagrams (FBD’s)
Experience has shown that drawing Free Body Diagrams (FBD’s) is the most important skill needed for solving engineering mechanics problems. By emphasizing the importance of visual analysis, text discussion, and homework problems, students will learn that drawing free body diagrams will greatly benefit their engineering education. Further study in vibration and mechanics of materials is strongly tied to the concept of free body diagrams.

Simple Structures
When dealing with engineering mechanics, arrangements of rigid members that are connected in a specific pattern are called structures. Bridges, communication towers, and frames of automobiles all are seen as structures. Simple structures include plane and space trusses, beams, frames, and machines. These simple structures are the types that are studied in engineering dynamics.

Instructional Aids
There are many instructional aids that can help the student or engineer understand the principles of engineering mechanics dynamics. Example problems and homework are probably the best teaching aid because they illustrate the application of fundamental theory to practical engineering problems. The graphical method of force resolutions was created before the last century was over, but are still applicable today.

Photos that show the connection between physical situations and their mathematical simulations are very helpful. Video and tutorial animations that are available online illustrate dynamics in a unique teaching format. Optional MATLAB and MathCAD worksheets online are also helpful, as well as solution manuals.

Visit Resources Pages online for a complete selection of materials related to engineering mechanics dynamics. Some of these materials include textbooks, solution manuals, study packs, FBD packages, and practice problems.