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Integrating Dynamic Systems, Vibration, And Control

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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

Mechanical Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.729.1 - 8.729.8



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Paper Authors

author page

Blace Albert

author page

Wayne Whiteman

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

Session xxxx

Integrating Dynamic Systems, Vibration, and Control

Colonel Wayne E. Whiteman, Ph.D., P.E., Major Blace C. Albert Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering United States Military Academy West Point, NY 10996


Undergraduate mechanical engineering curricula often provide Dynamic Systems, Control System Theory, and Vibration as separate course offerings. Students and faculty tend to compartmentalize these subjects. The approach toward teaching these subjects is also often separated and aggravates the problem of compartmentalization. This paper presents a proposed outline of an integrated two-semester course sequence in dynamic systems, vibration, and control at the junior or senior level of the undergraduate experience. Selected topics could also be arranged to provide a one-semester course. Prerequisites for this proposed offering include a basic knowledge of linear algebra and calculus through differential equations, statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, and basic electrical circuit theory and analysis. A graphical overview, or mind map, of the course is provided along with a detailed description of the various topics covered and the sequencing of the material.


This paper addresses the need for integrating topics within the mechanical engineering discipline. Specifically, the topics of system dynamics, vibrations, and controls should be integrated. These topics are often treated as separate course offerings in traditional undergraduate mechanical engineering programs. Textbooks are often separated along these disciplinary lines as well. Teaching and learning engineering in this fashion causes students and faculty to compartmentalize subject material, which in turn stifles creative problem solving. By treating dynamic systems, vibration, and control system theory as distinct subjects, the problem of compartmentalizing engineering topics is aggravated.

One way to alleviate this problem, within the mechanical engineering discipline, is to combine system dynamics, vibrations, and controls. These three topics blend together well, and can therefore be included in an integrated sequence that uses a simple, common sense approach to presenting the material. A proposed outline for an integrated, two-semester course sequence in these areas is presented in this paper. The target audience of the course would be at the undergraduate junior or senior level. Selected topics, from the same prospectus, could be arranged to provide a one-semester course as well. In the sections that follow, the rationale of the need for this type of offering is presented, along with the course prospectus that provides a summary of the course topics. The necessary prerequisites are also discussed. In addition to this, a graphical overview, or mind map, is provided to give the reader a sense of the overall objectives of the potential course. This graphical overview illustrates how well the topics of dynamics, vibrations, and controls can be integrated.

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

Albert, B., & Whiteman, W. (2003, June), Integrating Dynamic Systems, Vibration, And Control Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12328

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