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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


MECH0023 Dynamics and Control

MECH0023 Dynamics and Control

FHEQ Level:
6 (Undergraduate Yr 3)
Term 1
UCL / ECTS Credits:
15 UCL / 7.5 ECTS
Previous Module Code:
MECH0010 Control and Instrumentation; familiarity with ordinary differential equations, complex numbers and engineering dynamics

Taught By

Dr Ben Hanson (Module Coordinator):
Ben Hanson
Dr Ali Abolfathi (Teaching):
Ali Abolfathi
Dr Michele Orini (Teaching):
Michele Orini

Module Overview

This module provides students with understanding of issues involved in creating models of real mechanical systems. It provides experience of dynamic, vibrational and resonant behaviour, and investigates strategies to improve dynamic response and control vibration, and stabilise inherently unstable systems. Students become familiar with analysis of dynamic systems and the methods to control them.

Topics Covered


  • Modelling of dynamic systems using ordinary differential equations and linear Laplace transfer functions.
  • Accounting for non-linearity in models.
  • Numerical methods of simulation, e.g. using Matlab / Simulink.
  • Single-Input-Single-Output and multi-degree-of-freedom models including state-space representation.

Dynamic Response

  • Free vibration of single degree of freedom mass-spring system: natural frequency.
  • Free vibration of damped oscillator; different types of damping.
  • Forced response of single degree of freedom systems.
  • Transient vibration.
  • Application: Base excitation and vibration isolators.
  • Free vibration of multi degree of freedom systems.
  • Mode shapes and natural frequencies.
  • Modal decomposition.
  • Continuous systems, string, bars and beams, free and forced vibration

Frequency Response Techniques

  • Calculating frequency response from Laplace Transfer Function models.
  • Measuring frequency response and identifying a system model from experimental data.
  • Mechanical resonance.
  • Bandwidth (including resonance and mechanical systems).
  • Analogue to Digital interfacing: sample rate (including effects of time-delay lag on stability)

Controller Design

  • Root-locus methods of controller design (stabilising unstable systems).
  • Frequency response stability analysis (margins of stability).
  • PID & other controller types.
  • Control system hardware and practical implementation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Create a detailed model of a dynamic system, with multiple degrees of freedom, analyse its response and implement that model in a numerical (computer-based) simulation.
  • Measure the dynamic response of a simple system and identify the system parameters.
  • Predict the dynamic performance of system models in the frequency-domain; identifying the bandwidth and stability.
  • Design systems required to interface between analogue and digital domains, in order to use a computer/microcontroller to implement measurement and control of an external device.
  • Perform analytical investigations /simulations of the performance and stability of controlled systems, designing controllers to meet performance specifications.
  • Understand the difference between a theoretical model and a practical application of a control system and the limitations and constraints for systems.

Method of Instruction

This module is taught through:

  • Lectures
  • Practical laboratory classes


This module is assessed through a combination of unseen written examination and coursework exercises.

For more information about assessment please contact

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