Course Description

Dynamics is a subject matter which falls in the realm of classical mechanics, that is, the study of the motions of material systems and the mechanical actions responsible for these motions. In Dynamics, the material systems are assumed to be rigid bodies, or in the simplest modelization, particles. We first consider the subject of Kinematics, that is, study of the motion of particles and rigid bodies without reference to the physical causes (forces) of the motion. Kinematics is the foundation of this course. The ultimate goal is the formulation of equations of motion and the extraction of information from these equations. This may include the search for first integrals of motion, the study of stability of a particular motion, the determination of external forces/moments to guarantee a particular trajectory, etc.

Course Philosophy/ Work Expected

No textbook is assigned to this course. Lecture notes will be distributed throughout the semester. You will not need additional references.

Problem solving is key for success in this course. You will find many example problems in each chapter. A list of recommended problems will be indicated every week. Solve as many problems as possible. Solutions will be provided: they can be downloaded from the course web site

After an earnest attempt, study these solutions. They are detailed but not to the full extent possible. A few things are missing here and there to force you to work through them.

Do not passively read these documents. If need be, rework each problem with closed notes. Work at your own pace, but do not fall behind: you will not be able to catch up. As soon as the material is covered in class, you should start solving the relevant problems as suggested. Start with the problems covered in the lecture notes.

I do not require you to hand in any of your solutions. Instead, it is more productive for me to answer your questions in an individual fashion. Drop by my office during office hours or send me your questions by email. Individual questions, if deemed of general interest, are answered and emailed to the entire class.

There are 3 scheduled exams. In 7 hours of exams, you have ample opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned. Exam 1 (2 hours) covers kinematics (Chapters 1-2). Kinematics is pivotal to this course (every problem in dynamics starts with some kinematical derivations). Exam 1 is typically scheduled after 5 to 7 weeks of lectures. Exam 2 (2 hours) covers Chapters 3 and 4 (a large part of the exam relates to undergraduate particle kinematics). The final exam (3 hours) covers Chapters 7 and 8.