Principles of Dynamics

Kinematics, fundamental laws of mechanics, constraints, and generalized coordinates. Lagrange's equations, virtual work. Application to particle dynamics, rigid body motion, and spacecraft dynamics.


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

Students will benefit from this more mathematical viewpoint of dynamics, which begins with Lagrange's equations. Analytic solutions for rigid body dynamics reveal the behavior of the system to the student and clarify the meaning of the equations of motion. Finally, the student is introduced to the elegant and powerful concepts of the variational principles of dynamics.

Topics Covered:

Lagrange's Equations; Rigid Body Dynamics and Analytic Solutions; Spacecraft Dynamics; Introduction to Variational Principles of Mechanics.


AAE 340 (or equivalent). OR Graduate standing in Engineering, Science, or Mathematics.

Applied / Theory:

30 / 70

Web Address:

Web Content:

Syllabus, grades, lecture notes, homework assignments, solutions and quizzes.


Grading is weighted 20% on homework, 20% on a project, and 60% on three in-class exams. Homework can be submitted via WebCT.


Analytical solutions and numerical applications to spacecraft dynamics. Students may choose the problem they wish to analyze.


Three 50 min exams, no final exam.


Official textbook information is now listed in the Schedule of Classes. NOTE: Textbook information is subject to be changed at any time at the discretion of the faculty member. If you have questions or concerns please contact the academic department.
Tentative: Required--Greenwood, D. T., "Principles of Dynamics", Second Edition, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, ISBN: 9780137099818.

Computer Requirements:

ProEd Minimum Computer Requirements. MATLAB via Purdue GoRemote (

ProEd Minimum Requirements: