3R13. Dynamics of Mechanical Systems. - H Josephs (Dept of Mech Eng, Lawrence Tech Univ, Southfield, MI) and RL Huston (Dept of Mech, Indust, and Nucl Eng, Univ of Cincinnati, Cincinnati OH 45221-0072). CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL. 2002. 757 pp. ISBN 0-8493-0593-4. $89.95.

Reviewed by K Anderson (Dept of Mech Eng, Aeronaut Eng, and Mech (JEC4006), RPI, Troy NY 12180-3590).

This book represents a truly massive collection of material presenting many of the basic procedures in modern engineering dynamics, numerous examples, and introductions to more advanced topics. The text represents a collection of work and experience from the authors that spans roughly 30 years and fills 20 chapters and 750-plus pages. This text is massive in size and impressive in scope. The text is intended for mid to upper level undergraduate students in engineering and physics. The stated objective of the book is to give the reader a working knowledge of dynamics, enabling them to analyze a broad range of mechanical and biodynamic systems. The emphasis of the book is on presenting the fundamental procedures, but not so much the theory, underlying the dynamic analyses. The authors attempt to convey and develop the skills associated with potentially sophisticated dynamics analysis through the presentation and study of the fundamental engineering components (pendulums, cams, gears, balancing, and the like) which comprise many more complex systems. The book is also intended to serve as an independent study and/or a reference book for either beginning graduate students or practicing engineers.

The book begins with an introduction to the basic concepts and assumptions, basic terminology, a review of units, as well as the concepts of reference frames and coordinate systems. Chapter 2 continues with a review of vector algebra. The next three chapters are devoted to kinematics, with the last of these being on the planar motion of rigid bodies. Chapter 6 discusses force systems and equivalent representation of these force systems. While Chapter 7 presents a detailed review of rigid body inertia properties, including inertia dyadics.

The fundamental principles of dynamics (Newton’s equations of motion, and D’Alembert’s Principle) are presented in Chapter 8, with use work-energy and impulse-momentum principles covered in the next two chapters. Application of indirect/analytical methods are presented in Chapters 11 and 12 for a variety of simple systems, with effectively no theoretical development. The next five chapters present very useful application-oriented material on vibrations, engine balancing, cam design, and gear trains. The last three chapters present introductory material on multibody dynamics, robotics, and bio-dynamics.

The book is generally clearly written. The organization is acceptable, but this reviewer’s tastes would have changed when and where some materials are presented. The figures are very simple line diagrams (and are thus not very exciting), but convey the intended points well. The authors’ delivery of material shows an intent that the students learn through example and analogy, more than through understanding. Indeed, surprisingly little theory is presented in the text. This point will make the book attractive to some users and unattractive to others. This reviewer’s feeling is that applications-oriented students and instructors will approve of this format and like the book, while theory/fundamentals-oriented individuals will not. Thus anyone considering this book, as a text, should give it a very hard look and be sure of how it fits with their personal goals and style.

Being that as it may, this reviewer feels that one of the strongest aspects of Dynamics of Mechanical Systems is its representation of “Kane’s Method” for the analysis of dynamic systems. In too many books, this approach and its relatives (ie, velocity projection-based methods, of which Kane’s method is just one member) are glossed over and/or incorrectly described, particularly as they relate to computer simulation of multibody dynamic systems. Since Dynamics: Theory and Applications by Kane and Levinson has been allowed to go out of print, this text by Josephs and Huston represents one of very few books that accurately introduce this powerful family of methods, which are now so pervasive for industrial strength multibody dynamic system analysis and simulation.