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MECH4426 DYNAMICS （LECTURE NOTE 1）

Kinematics and kinetics
The world is full of objects. The simplest object is a point which is often an abstractive model of a mass with
a negligible size. Other objects can be bodies which have sizes, shape and distribution of mass density. A
specific body is called as rigid body if the distance between any two points of the body is fixed. Most objects
are made of elastic material which allows relative motion. Therefore, a rigid body is an idealized object
within which the motion between the points is not important to the subject matter of interest.

Kinematics describes the motion of an object or a system of objects without consideration of the causes of
the motion. The latter, which is also called dynamics, is concerned with the effect of forces on the motion of
an object or a system of objects.

Earth-fixed and body-fixed coordinates
The position of a point in an object can be described by a point in coordinates. The commonly adopted earth-
fixed (EF) coordinates can be established over fair large area, where the earth’s curvature has no significant
effect on the distance between two points when calculated by Euclidean geometry. As shown in Figure 1, on
a two-dimensional plane, the west to east direction can be defined as the X axis of the EF coordinates, while
the south to north as the Y axis. Within an object, body-fixed (BF) coordinates can be defined to describe the
positions of the points in the object. Both coordinates have their origins. In the EF coordinates, the origin of
the BF coordinates is denoted as ( , )
o o
X Y . The angular displacement of the x axis of the BF coordinates from
the X axis of the EF coordinates is denoted as ! .
X
Y
(North)
(South)
(West)
(East)
O
x
y
!
o
A
R
!
A
r
!
A

Figure 1: Earth-fixed and body-fixed coordinates.

Similarly, a point A in the rectangle of Figure 1 is described by ( , )
A A
X Y in the EF coordinates and by
( , )
A A
x y in the BF coordinates.

Displacement
If a point moves from one position to another position in the EF coordinates, a displacement is used to
describe the change of the position (see Figure 2(a)).

Y
(North)
O
X (East)
x
y
!
o
( )
A i
R t
!
A
r
!
A
!
x
y
o
A
r
!
A
( )
A f
R t
!
A
R "
!

Y
O
X
R !
!
X
R !
Y
R !

Figure 2: Displacement of a point moving from one position to another position.

Displacement is a vector as it describes the distance and direction of the position change, as shown in Figure
2(b). It can be expressed as:
2
[ ]
ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ
X
X X Y Y X Y
Y
R
R R e R e e e
R
! " #
! = ! + ! =
\$ %
!
& '
!
, (1)
where ˆ
X
e and ˆ
Y
e are respectively the unit vector in the X and Y directions.

Coordinates transformation
If the position of point A is known in the BF coordinates, the origin position and rotation of the body are also
known in the EF coordinates, then position of A in the EF coordinates can be determined by the following
coordinate transformation:
cos sin
sin cos
o A A
o A A
X X x
Y Y y
! !
! !
" # \$ # \$ # \$ # \$
= +
% & % & % & % &
' ( ' ( ' ( ' (
. (2)

The first term on the right hand side (RHS) of Eq. (2) is the translation of the origin of the BF coordinates
from the origin of the EF coordinates. The second term is the position of A measured in the EF coordinates if
the origins of the BF and EF coordinates overlap.

As an example, Figure 3 shows the trajectories of a rectangle due to rotation only, translation only and
simultaneous rotation and translation.
Figure 3(a) was obtained by letting
0
0
o
o
X
Y
! " ! "
=
# \$ # \$
% & % &
and
o
t ! " = and calculating the four corners of the rectangle
((1,3), (-1,3), (-1,-3) and (1,-3)) in the EF coordinates using Eq. (2). Then the plot was obtained by drawing
the rectangles in the EF coordinates with a fixed time interval.

Figure 3(b) was obtained by letting 0 ! = ,
1
1
cos( )
5 (m)
sin( )
o
o
X t
Y t
!
!
" # " #
=
\$ % \$ %
& ' & '
.
Figure 3(c) was obtained by letting
1
1
cos( )
5 (m)
sin( )
o
o
X t
Y t
!
!
" # " #
=
\$ % \$ %
& ' & '
and
o
t ! " = .
-5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5
-5
-4
-3
-2
-1
0
1
2
3
4
5
Y

(
m
)
X(m)
-10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
Y

(
m
)
X(m)
-10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
Y

(
m
)
X(m)

(a) (b) (c)
Figure 3: Trajectories of a rectangle; (a) rotation only, (b) translation only, and (c) rotation and
translation (Matlab Programs: Lecturer1_1R.m, Lecturer1_1T.m, and Lecturer1_1R_T.m).

Linear velocity and acceleration
The velocity and acceleration of a point in an object can always be calculated by the time derivative(s) of the
displacement vector (from the origin) of the point in the EF coordinates. Taking point A in Figure 4 as an
example, its velocity is defined as the time changing rate of the displacement vector
A
R
!

A
A
dR
v
dt
=
!
!
. (3)
Similarly, the acceleration is
2
2
A
A
d R
a
dt
=
!
!
. (4)
3
Y
O
X
o
A
R
!
oA
R
!
A
o
R
!

Figure 4: The displacement vector of point A in the FE coordinates.

Using the vector superposition, for a rigid body in a 2 dimensional plan, the velocity vector can also be
expressed as
A o oA
v v R ! = + "
!
! ! !
(5)
where
o
v
!
is the velocity vector of the origin of the BF coordinates,
oA
R
!
is a vector in the EF coordinates
projected from the position vector of point A in the BF coordinates. !
!
is the angular velocity vector of the
rigid body. The direction of !
!
is perpendicular to the X-Y plane and its positive direction is determined by
ˆ ˆ
X Y
e e ! .

The acceleration vector can be expressed as:
2
A o oA oA
d
a a R R
dt
!
! = + " #
!
! !
! !
(6)
where
o
a
!
o
v
!
is the acceleration vector of the origin of the BF coordinates,
d
dt
!
!
is the angular acceleration
vector of the rigid body. The second term on the RHS of Eq. (6) represents the tangential acceleration with
respect to the origin of EF coordinates, while the third term is called the centripetal acceleration.

Angular velocity and acceleration
If the angular position of a rigid body varies with time as illustrated in Figure 5, then angular velocity and
acceleration can be defined to describe the time changing rate of the rotation and the time changing rate of
the angular velocity:

( )
Z
d t
e
dt
!
" =
! !
, (7)
and

2
2
( )
Z
d d t
e
dt dt
! "
=
!
!
. (8)
It is worth to note that as only the 2D motion of the rigid body is considered, !
!
and
d
dt
!
!
are all in the
Z
e
!

direction.
4
x
y
( ) t !
o
A
r
!
A
( ) t dt ! +
x
y
o
A
r
!
A
( )
Z
e
!
Y
O
X
Z
( )
X
e
!
( )
Y
e
!

Figure 5: Illustration of the change in the angular position of a rectangle.

The readers may like to look at the kinematics of a three dimensional rigid body and see how much new
physics and mathematics will be involved.

Linear momentum and force
A more complete description between the motion and force is obtained by define the linear momentum of a
rigid body:

c c
p mv =
! !
. (9)
which represents a more complete nature of the motion of the body when its causes are concerned. It is noted
that this momentum is defined by product of the mass of the rigid body and the velocity at the centre of the
mass. The centre of the mass is better determined in the BF coordinates (why?). Using Figure 6 as an
example, the centre of mass can be determined by:

S
c
S
rdxdy
r
dxdy
!
!
=
"
"
!
!
. (10)
where ! is the mass density per unit area (for 2D case), and S is the surface of the 2D rigid body. Eq. (10)
can be readily extended for a 3D rigid body (Can you do it?). It is clear that
S
m dxdy ! =
"
.
y
x
o
r
!

Figure 6: Illustration the calculation of the centre of mass in BF coordinates.

Example 1: To prove that the center of the mass of the rectangle in Figure 7 is at (0,0).
5
y
x
o
r
!
/ 2 b
/ 2 b
a

Figure 7: A rectangle for practicing the calculation of centre of the mass.

Newton’s second law states that the change of the linear momentum with time is caused by the external
force:

c
c
dp
f
dt
=
!
!
. (11)
Angular momentum and moment
Similarly, a more complete description of the rotation is the angular momentum

c c
h I ! =
!
!
. (12)
where
c
I is the moment of inertial of the body about the centre of mass. Also in the BF coordinates, the
moment of inertial can be calculated by

2 2
( )
O
S
I x y dxdy ! = +
"
. (13)
As an exercise, the rectangle shown in Figure 7 has a moment of inertial around the origin as:
2 2
/ 2 / 2
2 2
/ 2 / 2
( )
( )
12
a b
O
a b
a b
I x y dxdy m !
" "
+
= + =
# #
. (14)
If the origin of the BF coordinates does not overlap with the centre of mass, as in the example of Figure 8,
what would be the moment of inertial around the origin?

y
x
o
r
!
/ 2 b
b
a
/ 4 b
C

Figure 8: An example for the calculation of moment of inertial.
Can you show that if we
O
I and the distance between the origin and the centre of mass is d, then the moment
of inertial about the centre of mass can be determined by:
2
C O
I I md = ! ? (15)
Similar to Newton’s second law for relate the linear momentum to the force, the change of angular
momentum with time is caused by the moment:
c
c
dh
m
dt
=
!
!
. (16)
6
Following the definition of the displacement, velocity and acceleration, it becomes clear that if one of them,
is known (Can you think about how would you find one of them?), the others can be determined by
derivatives or integration. On the other hand, if the force and moment vectors on a rigid body are known and
so are the initial conditions (initial displacement and velocity vectors), then the linear and angular
momentums, and linear and angular displacements can be predicted.

Indeed, the causes of the changes in momentums are explained by Eqs. (11) and (16). Then what are the
causes of the force and moment? The following part of dynamics can only answer part of this question. The
rest may be found in other field of studies such as electromagnetics and quantum mechanics.

Tutorial Question 1:
A rectangle rigid body is located at the top of a cliff as shown in Figure 9. The rectangle will move from this
initial position as it is subject to an initial linear velocity
Xo
Yo
v
v
! "
# \$
% &
and initial angular velocity. What are the
acceleration, velocity and displacement of this rectangle as a function of time?
Y
O
X
o
Y
b
a
Xo
v
Yo
v
o
!

Figure 9: Initial position and velocity of a rectangle for tutorial question 1.

Solution:
The equations of motion of the rectangle (with three degrees of freedom) are:
0
0
C
C
mX
mY mg
I!
=
= "
=
!!
!!
!!
. (17)
The initial conditions are:
0, / 2, 0
C C
X Y b ! = = = . (18a)
, ,
Cx xo Cy yo o
v v v v ! ! = " = = . (18b)
Then the solution of the acceleration, velocity and displacement are respectively:
0
contant=
C
C xo
C xo
X
X v
X v t
=
= !
= !
!!
!
, (19a)
2
1
2 2
C
C yo
C yo
Y g
Y gt v
b
Y gt v t
= !
= ! +
= ! + +
!!
!
, (19b)
and
7
0
o
o
t
!
! "
! "
=
=
=
!!
!
. (19c)
Therefore in the BF coordinates, any point A of the rectangle will have the following trajectory in the EF
coordinates (calculated by Eq. (2)):

2
cos( ) sin( )
1
sin( ) cos( )
2 2
xo
o o A A
o o A A yo
v t
t t X x
b
t t Y y gt v t
! !
! !
" # \$
" # \$ # \$ # \$
% &
= +
% & % & % &
% &
" + +
' ( ' ( ' (
' (
. (20)
Figure 10 shows the position of the rectangle as several time instants. It would be interesting to view the
trajectory of a typical point (such as the center of the rectangle, or a corner of the rectangle) in the EF
coordinates by using the matlab program provided.
-30 -20 -10 0
-100
-90
-80
-70
-60
-50
-40
-30
-20
-10
0
10
Y

(
m
)
X(m)

Figure 10: The positions of the rectangle as several time instants. (Tutorial1.m)

Tutorial Question 2:
Given the displacement of the point A in a rigid rectangle shown in Eq. (20), can you find out the velocity
and acceleration of the point, and forces and moment on the rectangle?