Improve Teaching of System Dynamics and Response Using Smart Material Experiment

  • Gangbing Song
  • Paul C Lam


The goal of this paper is to present simple but effective classroom demonstrations and experiments for mechanical engineering students who are taking System Dynamics and Response (SDR). By taking advantage of the rapid development in the field of smart materials and smart structures, piezoelectric ceramics are used in this project as both smart sensors and smart actuators to help study the dynamics and response of a simple dynamic system ? a cantilevered flexible beam. Unlike a traditional experimental setup that is often single purposed, this setup is multi-purposed by utilizing smart sensors and actuators. Many experiments and demonstrations, such as identifying transfer functions, predicting and observing resonance and understanding Bode diagrams, can be derived from this setup. This setup has been built and integrated into SDR as a tool for classroom demonstrations. It is found that these demonstrations help to bridge the gap between theory and intuition during a student?s learning process. In addition, these demonstrations have motivates students to further pursue studies in smart structures.