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Utilizing Interactive Web Based Dynamics Animation Software In Order To Obtain Graphs Of Parametric Studies

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Computational Tools and Simulation II

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1348.1 - 15.1348.16



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Paper Authors


Richard Stanley Kettering University

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Dr. Richard Stanley has been a faculty member of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Kettering University (Flint, MI) since July of 1999, where he holds the rank of Associate Professor. He earned his BSME from The University of Michigan in 1990, his MSME from Wayne State University in 1996, and his Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 1998. His primary interest is to develop web-based internet animation software, which can be used to enhance the engineering student’s understanding of mechanics principles. He is also the karate and jiu-jitzu instructor at Kettering University, where he incorporates many of the martial arts principles and methods in the classroom.

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Timothy Cameron Kettering University

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


Animation software for an introductory Dynamics course has been developed, which will be an integral feature of the web-based learning system, WileyPLUS (John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York). This interactive software is unique because each animation may be directly linked to a homework problem or case study and no programming is required of the user.

The software has been improved such that the user may download parametric studies of raw data in tab-delimited format. Graphs can then be automatically generated via a Microsoft EXCEL® (EXCEL) “macro”, which is embedded in a single static EXCEL file. This EXCEL file must be downloaded only once and can be used to seamlessly graph and format parametric data that has been obtained via the animations program.

The focus of this paper is to illustrate and assess parametric studies that were created by the animation software. The software was used by students at Kettering University in order the increase their qualitative understanding of particle dynamics and rigid body kinematics. Student surveys and the results of student assignments suggest that the parametric studies enhanced the students’ overall comprehension of dynamics.

1. Introduction

In typical Dynamics courses, most homework problems require the student to solve for a given variable at an instant in space and time. The professor typically assigns a set of homework problems and the students solve each problem by hand. The student knows that his or her calculations are correct by checking answers in the back of the book.

In reality, the subject of particle Dynamics is the study of motion and not the calculation of a particle’s point at a particular instance in time. This differentiation is probably lost in the traditional classroom. A unique web-based animation program has been developed by the principal author of this paper, which has been explained in several previous publications1,2,3,4,5,6. A summary of comments and findings of the earlier publications are:

1) The primary purpose of the animation software is to help the student appreciate and understand Dynamics concepts more completely. 2) There is no software to install and there is absolutely no programming required of the user. 3) The animations can be played on virtually any computer; the Adobe Flash® Player is installed on 98.8% of internet-enabled desktops worldwide7. 4) The software is extremely easy to use; the controls are similar to those of a DVD player. 5) Because the program is “hard-coded” in Adobe Flash ActionScript, there is an abundance of control in the advancement of the software package. 6) The cost and time of development is relatively low because all images may be duplicated directly from the textbook.

Stanley, R., & Cameron, T. (2010, June), Utilizing Interactive Web Based Dynamics Animation Software In Order To Obtain Graphs Of Parametric Studies Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16895

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