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Book details
  • SubGenre:Mechanical
  • Language:English
  • Pages:366
  • Hardcover ISBN:9780578936260

The Back Pocket Dynamicist

10 Steps to Broad Fluency in Engineering Dynamics

by Chris Davidson

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A sound knowledge of dynamics has long been an integral part of an engineer’s tool chest. Engineering dynamics influences a variety of different applications from transport to automation. The Back Pocket Dynamicist spans the entire range of Engineering Dynamics topics from Rigid Body Kinematics to Dynamic Fatigue. Using a concise yet detailed approach it provides a straightforward and logical exploration of these topics targeted to various reader personas from a student to a practicing engineer. The text is based on comments and suggestions from some of the foremost industrial experts in Engineering Dynamics.

While the focus is on providing the reader with a robust foundation in Engineering Dynamics principles, there is a conscious effort to reinforce how these principles influence real-world engineering problems.  Rarely will you find one book that covers such a wide and inter-related set of concepts in the field of dynamics.  Yet this book is not an overview.  Each subject is treated rigorously and there are many example problems illustrating the various concepts.


Complex stiffness, observability, Bauschinger effect, modal synthesis, ergodicity, convolution, quaternion, Hamilton's Principle, inverse kinematics, hydraulic inductance, state transition matrix. These are just a handful of the approximately 250 topics explained in this book, many with thoroughly worked-out example problems. The Back Pocket Dynamicist provides a concise, but detailed development of the wide-ranging dynamics issues facing real engineers. It is based on the author's 35 years of experience of work in the field. Whether you are a practicing engineer, an engineering manager, or even a student, this book is sure to provide valuable mathematical and intuitive insights not provided elsewhere. Dynamics is not an easy field; many of history's greatest scientists struggled to develop a coherent theory. But the Back Pocket Dynamicist cuts through all the fluff and provides a straightforward, logical development that is highly readable. The book begins with the topics of rigid body kinematics and dynamics, then moves on to discuss linear systems and transforms. Following this, there are chapters on transient response, frequency response, and techniques used to combine multibody dynamics (MBD) with finite element analysis (FEA). This leads into chapters on random vibration, control system dynamics, and fluid (hydraulic) systems. Finally, the 10th chapter discusses methods commonly used to predict fatigue life based on dynamic loading. This is indeed a wide range of topics. But to address the dynamic issues of machine design, at least some knowledge in all of them is often required. After reading The Back Pocket Dynamicist, you will have a new appreciation for the complex but elegant field of engineering dynamics.

About the author

Chris Davidson is currently a Senior Application Engineer with MSC Software, where he has had the good fortune to involved in many types of dynamic analysis.  He holds an MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington and has been a licensed professional engineer in Washington state since 1996. Upon graduation, Chris began his career at the Boeing Company, where he developed dynamic hydraulic system models and helped certify hydro-mechanical equipment. Following Boeing, Chris worked for the Ford Motor Company helping develop hydro-mechanical models of automatic transmissions. Just Prior to MSC, Chris worked at Smiths Aerospace, where he served as a stress and performance engineer and finally CAE manager.