Course description

Newtonian dynamics of a particle, systems of particles, rigid bodies, simple mechanisms and simple harmonic oscillators. Impulse, momentum, angular momentum, work and energy. Two-dimensional (planar) kinematics including motion relative to a moving reference frame. Three dimensional rigid-body dynamics are introduced at the instructor’s option. Setting up the differential equations of motion and solving them both analytically and numerically with MATLAB. In-lecture laboratory demonstrations illustrate basic principles.

Outcome 1: Student will be able to draw free-body diagrams and vectors for mechanics.

Outcome 2: Describe particle motion in 1-D, 2-D and 3-D employing Cartesian, polar, and path coordinates, and rotating coordinate systems.

Outcome 3: Apply Newton/Euler laws, momentum and work-energy principles to the motion of particles and rigid bodies to find equations of motion and conserved quantities.

Outcome 4: Recognize simple harmonic motions for 1-degree-of-freedom mechanical systems.

Outcome 5: Solve equations of motion numerically, and analytically in simple cases, and graphically show the resulting motion(s).

Outcome 6: Understand measurement of displacement, velocity and acceleration - and use such data to characterize the kinematics of simple mechanisms and 1-degree-of-freedom mechanical systems.

Permission of instructor required if not a current Cornell Engineering student.


ENGRD 2020 , MATH 2930, familiarity with MATLAB or permission of instructor.


Math 2940

Summer 2024: Ithaca campus

John Callister
John Callister
Senior Lecturer, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering