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.
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.
Engineering mechanics dynamics is the engineering student’s first exposure to understanding bodies that are in motion. Dynamics is a departure from statics, where structures are in static equilibrium. The concept of dynamic equilibrium requires study of the variable forces that occur in rigid and elastic bodies that experience loads such as acceleration and vibration.
Topics of Study
The first topic of study is the application of Newton’s Laws to basic engineering systems. Learning about particle kinematics will re-acquaint the student with concepts of linear and angular motion. Developing equations of motion for single and multiple degree-of-freedom systems is an important skill for the dynamic analyst. As in statics analysis, vector mechanics will be necessary during the study of dynamics. Vibration of rigid and elastic structures and dynamic response are advanced topics of study.
Free Body Diagrams (FBD’s)
The concept of Free Body Diagrams (FBD’s) is just as critical in dynamic analysis, as it is in static analysis. The main difference in the two FBD’s is the difference in static and dynamic equilibrium. In static equilibrium, the sums of the forces and moments must be zero. In dynamic equilibrium, the sums of the forces and moments would equal the product of mass and acceleration. This leads to the determination of the appropriate equations of motion for the dynamic system being analyzed.