12 April, 2012

A-Z Blogging Challenge: Kinematics

Public domain image. SOURCE.
Kinematics is a branch of mechanics and is the study of the motion of bodies, regardless of their mass or the forces acting on those bodies. The fact it does not include the cause of motion (the forces) is how it differs from dynamics, which was covered under Fluid Dynamics last Friday.

The name kinematics comes from the Greek kinesis, or "motion". It was coined by André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836) in 1834, in his Essai sur la philosophie de sciences, which outlined a new field he called "cinematique".

The person considered the founder of kinematics is not Ampère, however, but Franz Reuleaux (1829-1905). He described the field as "the study of the motion of bodies of every kind . . . and the study of the geometric representation of motion". It was during his lifetime that kinematics began to take off, and he published The Kinematics of Machinery: Outlines of a Theory of Machines, where he classified different types of mechanisms. Kinematics has a more modern role in machine design, including robots, automobiles, aircraft, satellites, electronics, and prostheses.

There are two main kinds of motion in kinematics: motion with constant velocity (velocity is speed and direction) and motion with constant acceleration. Because forces behind the motion are not considered, only constrained motion--motion where objects are moving on determinate paths unaffected by forces--of objects can be described (as opposed to unconstrained motion, which is affected by forces).

Position, velocity, acceleration. Public domain image. SOURCE.
Mathematically, there are two quantities: scalars (quantities described by magnitude, or a single numerical value) and vectors (quantities described by both magnitude and direction). One-dimensional motion is motion along a straight line, and two- and three-dimensional motion can often be broken down into several one-dimensional motions.

Notable Mechanical Engineer/Kinematicist:

Mary C. Boyce

Mary C. Boyce is the Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Gail E. Kendall Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She obtained a B.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Tech, and an S.M. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. She has been awarded the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Applied Mechanics Young Investigator Award, and the Spira Award for Teaching among others, and is a Fellow at the American Academy of Mechanics, the ASME, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Her research focuses on polymers, elastomers (polymers with elastic properties), materials with lattice structures, natural materials, macromolecular networks, and mechanical properties.




Ever heard of the field of kinematics before? (I hadn't, until I searched for something that began with "K".)

-----The Golden Eagle


Josh Hoyt said...

I have never heard of this before but it is fascinating. Great post very interesting!

Rusty Webb said...

Ugh. It seems like my whole first semester of Physics in college was kenamatics of some sort. It was a bit too boring for me.

Mark Noce said...

Ok, I'm on to you now:) You have at least a few degrees in science, yes?

Inger said...

I am so impressed!
First with you deciding to tackle science as your theme and second with the fabulous job you are doing and the care you are taking to get it right. I have enjoyed your posts.

Cherie Reich said...

I haven't heard of Kinematics before, but it sounds like a fascinating science. :)

Stacy Jensen said...

Nice to see I'm not alone. Nope I haven't heard of it before. Very noble to research it for a proper K word. :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Josh: Thank you!

Rusty: I'm sorry to hear it was boring. Nothing like having science ruined by a dull layout.

Mark: LOL. Nope!

Inger: Thank you so much. :) I'm glad you've enjoyed them!

Cherie: I find that it is, too.

Stacy: Thank you!

Jay Noel said...

I have a buddy that started his own medical company. He holds a few patents involving prothesis. Specifically knee replacements.

I remember him talking about internal and external prosthesis kinematics.

It's amazing all the science that goes into such a thing. The biomechanics - the movement of the joint, the prothesis in the socket, etc.

Anonymous said...

Its been years since I read much about kenamatics. Thanks. Have to admit I forgot just about everything.

Sandra Tyler said...

Like that I acrtually learned something from this K.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

You just made Bill Nye the Science Guy proud. You should apply to Cornell, his alma mater, former school of Carl Sagan.

Arlee Bird said...

Criminy, that seemed complex. I felt like I had fallen off the top of a building and experienced constant acceleration until landing on my head. Ouch--hate it when that happens.

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An A to Z Co-host blog

Clarissa Draper said...

Wow, you must have researched a lot to find material for the A-Z. Science and discovery is so fascinating. There's endless fields of study.

Lynda R Young said...

Kinematics is a fabulously interesting branch of science (yes, I've heard of it).

Love the pic you chose for this post too.

Theresa Milstein said...

It's interesting to see when an idea originated, and how it evolved. This is a very educational A to Z!

Rusty Webb said...

Eagle - That might have more to do with me than the layout, well, actually, I do have an issue with how all the sciences are presented in schools. There was almost no larger theme presented in most courses - and I've taken a lot of science courses - it's just like, "welcome to Physics, hey, let's talk about kinematics." Then we started doing math.

At the time, I wanted to study relativity and quantum mechanics and it was just chapter after chapter of really similar topics, rotational kinetics, then a week later, rotational kinematics... I do have unhappy memories, I just wanted more at the time, couldn't appreciate what I was learning when it was in front of me.

Paul Tobin said...

Fascinating stuff. i am learning so much! This is really good.

The Golden Eagle said...

Jay: Wow. That's impressive--starting a company and acquiring patents!

Stephen: You're welcome. I hope this post could refresh your memory. :)

Sandra: Thanks!

Michael: I'd love to apply to Cornell . . . but whether I'm smart enough, I'm not sure. They have some super-genius graduates.

Arlee: That does sound painful!

Clarissa: I tried to make things as accurate as possible.

Yup. :)

Lynda: I agree.

I'm glad you like the pic!

Theresa: I had fun researching the history of different fields.

Rusty: Seems to illustrate the need for a better education system. Plenty of people keep on about how schools need better teachers and new ways of teaching--but the people and teachers who run the institutions just remain embedded in their old methods. Sigh.

Paul: Thank you! Glad to hear you're learning something new through these posts. :)

melody-mae said...

Totally happy that you found me and followed because I came to visit you! I just took the pledge that you had on your side bar! Thank you!!!

Feather Stone said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog. Your field is amazing but far above my ability to take it all in on a blog hop. Suffice to say that my brothers and I loved to walk along rivers and do what we called 'rock hounding'. We collected interesting rocks; one in particular gave me the hope I needed during a crisis. Thanks

The Golden Eagle said...

Melody-mae: You're welcome! And it's good to know I'm not the only one who's taken the Read It 1st Pledge. :)

Feather: You're very welcome!

Rocks are fascinating that way; a few have a special element with an emotional impact, don't they?