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System Modeling And Control For Mechanical Engineers

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1051.1 - 7.1051.11



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Session 1655

System Modeling and Control for Mechanical Engineers Hugh Jack, Associate Professor Padnos School of Engineering Grand Valley State University Grand Rapids, MI email:


Traditional courses in systems modeling focus on linear analysis techniques for systems using Laplace transforms. This method is highly effective for electrical engineering students who will make use of these techniques throughout their studies. For various reasons, such as non-linearity, Laplace transforms are used less frequently in mechanical engineering. In recognition of this dif- ference, the Dynamic Systems Modeling and Control course (EGR 345) at Grand Valley State University was redesigned.

EGR 345 examines systems that contain translational, rotational and electrical components, as well as permanent magnet DC motors. These systems are modeled with differential equations. The students are shown how to solve these systems of equations using explicit integration, numer- ical integration, and recognition of the canonical forms. Students are then shown how to manipu- late equations containing the differential operator, and how to put these into transfer function form. Once in this form it is possible to utilize most of the techniques of classical linear control, such as block diagrams, Bode plots and root-locus diagrams.

The course includes a major laboratory component. In the first half of the semester the labora- tories focus on modeling physical components. The models can then be used to predict the responses of systems to given inputs. As the semester progresses the labs transition to using industrial motor controllers to reinforce the value of the course material.

The paper describes the course in detail, including a custom written text book available on the course web page (


At Grand Valley State University (GVSU) all junior Mechanical and Manufacturing engineer- ing students take EGR 345, Dynamic Systems Modeling and Control. Originally this course fol- lowed a very traditional approach using Laplace transforms to analyze lumped parameter linear systems. When the students completed the course they were able to analyze single input, single output linear systems using Laplace transforms, by integrating first and second order differential

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education Main Menu

Jack, H. (2002, June), System Modeling And Control For Mechanical Engineers Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10490

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