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Development Of Visualization Tools For One And Multiple Dof Dynamic Systems

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Computational Tools and Simulation II

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.486.1 - 14.486.11

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Paper Authors


Jiang Zhou Lamar University

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Jiang Zhou
Ph. D in Mechanical Engineering of University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Currently an associate professor in Mechanical Engineering Department at Lamar University

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Paul Corder Lamar University

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Hsing-wei Chu Lamar. University

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X. Chang Li Lamar University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Development of Visualization Tools for One and Multiple DOF Dynamic Systems


A course in system dynamics is required in most mechanical and other engineering curricula. System dynamics deals with mathematical modeling and response analyses of dynamics systems. Over years the authors have observed that the students have difficulties with the fundamental concepts such as frequencies and damping, and some advanced topics such as vibration absorbers and multiple degrees of freedom systems, etc. The material in this course is very different than the students’ previous courses, the majority of which are based on statics concepts. Even the course in dynamics usually focuses on the rigid body dynamics, and usually does not cover those fundamental topics in system dynamics.

Many modern-day engineering students are graphical learners. Multimedia content generally enhances student retention and interest [1]. In order to help the students better understand the concepts and topics in system dynamics, a series of MATLAB based graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and models have been developed. Multi-layered graphical user interfaces have been used in classroom teaching, including time and frequency response of first and second order systems due to a variety of different input conditions and initial conditions, for both one degree of freedom and two degrees of freedom systems. In this paper, selected example GUIs are introduced and displayed. The graphical user interfaces present data in a form so that students can immediately see the effects of changing system parameters as they relate to frequencies, damping, and even the principles of vibration isolation and vibration absorption. The paper also presents the student survey assessment on the usefulness of the tools in the enhancement of teaching in dynamic systems.

There has been considerable work done to exploit the use of computer graphics to clarify math and engineering subjects. For example, an early paper used MATLAB to illustrate solutions to hyperbolic differential equations [2]. The concept of using MATLAB for the animation of lumped parameter dynamic systems was demonstrated by Watkins et al [3]. Jacquot et al [4] created a series of MATLAB scripts that illustrate the solutions to partial differential equations commonly encountered in mathematics, engineering and physics courses. Recently there have been a number of papers describing the MATLAB and SIMULINK based GUIs related to response of dynamic systems due to a variety of different input conditions [5,6,7].

Compared with the published visualization tools for dynamic systems and other subjects, the developed MATLAB GUIs have some unique properties. They are multi-layered; both time response and frequency response for generally used input signals, such as step, impulse, ramp, and sinusoidal functions, can be displayed with the same interface by choosing corresponding pushbuttons. Besides the single degree of freedom 1st and 2nd order system, GUIs are also developed for two degrees of freedom systems with multiple inputs and initial conditions. The principle of vibration absorber is illustrated clearly by a GUI for two degrees of freedom system as well.

Zhou, J., & Corder, P., & Chu, H., & Li, X. C. (2009, June), Development Of Visualization Tools For One And Multiple Dof Dynamic Systems Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas.

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