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Enhancing System Dynamics Instruction For Technologists With Simulation

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Curriculum Development in EM ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.517.1 - 8.517.10



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Paper Authors

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B. Zoghi

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Robert Bolton

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Session 1448

Enhancing System Dynamics Instruction for Technologists with Simulation

Robert W. Bolton and Behbood Zoghi

Texas A&M University Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution College Station Texas, 77843


The Department of Engineering Technology at Texas A&M University teaches “Electromechanical Systems for Technologists” to sophomore mechanical and electrical technology majors. The course transitions students from calculus and physics prerequisites to more advanced courses in vibrations, automation, and industrial/real-time controls. Students are introduced to the analysis and modeling of dynamic mechanical, electrical and mixed systems response using classical time and frequency analysis, and simulation. Because of the diverse mix of majors in the class and their prerequisite knowledge level more traditional simulation packages, PSpice or Working Model for example, are avoided. A generic simulation package, SIMULINK by MathWorks TM, which is closely tied to the underlying mathematics common to many technical disciplines is used to solve a variety of dynamic problems in mechanical and electrical engineering technology. The intent of this paper is to discuss course organization and to describe the use of this software in homework, lab assignments, and class demonstrations. A key feature of using this simulation software is the short student learning curve required to address simulation problems in the course.

Course material in Electromechanical Systems follows the general outline of many courses in dynamic systems addressing; simple mechanical systems, passive and active electrical systems, mixed systems, and open/closed loop control. Students are introduced to common solution methods for dynamic systems modeled as first and second order differential equations followed by solutions utilizing Laplace transforms. Since most students lack prior coursework in differential equations a simulation package is taught early in the course to leverage their ability to investigate dynamic systems. Topics are initially taught using a systems or component assembly approach emphasizing the need to identify and model the individual components of larger systems. The generic nature of SIMULINK allows students to directly assemble component models based on governing physical laws expressed as one or more coupled differential equations. The ability to directly simulate governing differential equations encountered in this class using a single package unifies much of the student's understanding of dynamic systems, mechanical, electrical, or mixed, and the underlying mathematics.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Zoghi, B., & Bolton, R. (2003, June), Enhancing System Dynamics Instruction For Technologists With Simulation Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11990

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