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Unit information: Dynamics of Rigid Bodies in 2016/17

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Unit name Dynamics of Rigid Bodies
Unit code MENG10201
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Pavier
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


The course begins with the study of linear motion of particles and rigid bodies. This enables the important physical principles of force, momentum and energy to be introduced without complicated mathematical notation. The course then covers two-dimensional motion of particles and rigid bodies where now a vector notation must be introduced. Throughout the course, several practical examples are used to demonstrate the applicability of the material to engineering practice. The most important of these examples are the orbital motion of spacecraft and the forces developed in an internal combustion engine. Two laboratory sessions are included in the course: one to measure the moment of inertia of a connecting rod, the other to investigate the motion of a mechanism.


The Dynamics unit provides students with the basic analysis tools and design knowledge necessary to understand the behaviour of simple dynamic systems.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end the course students will:

  • Understand and apply the basic principles of dynamics
  • Be familiar with quantities such as force, momentum and energy
  • To understand the effect of forces and moments acting on particles and bodies
  • To study the method of finding the velocity and acceleration of particles and points on a body.
  • To relate the motion of parts in a machine using the principles of kinematics.

Teaching details

The course is presented in a series of illustrated lectures once a week, nominally for 24 weeks, during which the course material is explained and key points of interest highlighted. The information in these handouts covers all the course material, but students will often need to add additional notes and refer to the recommended texts. The course also includes one compulsory laboratory exercise. In addition to attending lectures students are expected to undertake private study. This should include reviewing the lecture material, attempting the problem sheets and reading the relevant sections of the recommended books. Periodically some or all of a lecture slot will be devoted to answering student questions arising from the course material or problem sheets. All teaching materials, including full worked solutions to the problem sheets, are available on Blackboard.

Assessment Details

This course is assessed by one 1.5-hour written examination at the end of the year worth 70 % of the overall mark, one laboratory worth 10% and one mid-sessional exam worth 20%. The assessment of the laboratory is by means of a question sheet which must be completed during the laboratory and handed in at the end. A complete laboratory report is not required.

Reading and References

Engineering Mechanics, 5th edition, J.L. Meriam & L.G. Kraige, (Wiley), 2001. Dynamics: engineering mechanics, 3rd edition, A. Bedford & W. Fowler, (Prentice Hall),2002.