The subject of this book is the dynamic behavior of physical systems, with some emphasis on simple mechanical and electrical systems representative of or analogous to those often encountered in aerospace and mechanical engineering. A system, as defined in this book, is a combination of two or more simple physical elements or components, these being connected together in such a way that they all influence the dynamic behavior of the entire system. An element or component, as defined in this book, is usually a discrete object, such as a mechanical spring or an electrical resistor. This object usually produces a discrete effect, such as a motion-induced force or a voltage drop. Dynamic behavior is the variation in time of some physical response quantity of the system, for example, the position of a mass, or the voltage at some location in an electrical circuit.
The general subject of this book is relevant to courses that are offered in most engineering colleges for students who major in aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, engineering mechanics, ocean engineering or naval architecture, electrical engineering, and chemical engineering. Many of the specific topics addressed within chapters and in homework problems following chapters are relevant especially to the study and practice of aerospace engineering.