In proceedings 2005 ASEE Annual Conference, Portland, June 2005.
Should kinetics follow kinematics? Only in the dictionary!
P.J. Cornwell and R. Layton

The vast majority of dynamics textbooks are organized with an almost identical ordering of topics. This ordering is generally particle kinematics, particle kinetics, rigid body kinematics, rigid body kinetics, 3-D kinematics and kinetics and finally vibrations. There are a few textbooks that introduce more fully the concept of kinematics, including both particle and rigid body kinematics prior to the discussion of kinetics principles, but to the authors’ knowledge no book starts with an extensive discussion of kinetics prior to kinematics. At Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology we have taken the approach of introducing the kinetics principles in the larger context of conservation principles, that is, conservation of mass, charge, linear momentum, angular momentum and energy using only very basic kinematics. Only after all of the kinetics principles are clearly understood are additional kinematics topics discussed. This approach is currently part of a sophomore curriculum where the concepts of conservation and accounting permeate a sequence of courses and assessment results indicate improved student learning. The purpose of this paper is to present a case for how and why a dynamics instructor teaching conventional course might adopt this approach.

©2005 American Society for Engineering Education.

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Richard A. Layton
Last modified: 19 Jun 05