Course Information


Parviz E. Nikravesh, Professor
Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721
Tel: (520) 621-4966
Fax: (520) 621-8191

Office Hours

On-campus students: T, Th 9:30-10:300 AM; W 11:00 AM-12:00 noon


Computer-Aided Analysis of Mechanical Systems
P. E. Nikravesh
Prentice-Hall, 1988 (out of print)
To obtain photocopies or to download PDF files please go to textbook.

Additional notes will be provided during the semester either as hardcopies or electronically as PDF.
Class notes will be an integral component of instruction;
material presented in the class will supplement and will sometimes be different from the treatment in the textbook.

Computer Program

MATLAB is the software package mainly used in this course. Prior knowledlge of MATLAB is necessary. Students must have access to MATLAB in order to complete some of the assignments. Some MATLAB programs will be supplied by the insytructor, and some MATLAB programs will be developed by students.


The covered topics are:

Vector and matrix notation
Fundamentals of kinematics
Numerical and computational methods and algorithms in kinematics
Rotation in space
Spatial kinematics
Fundamentals of dynamics
Spatial dynamics
Numerical and computational methods and algorithms in dynamics
Kinematic and dynamic modeling
Software development

Additional topics for on-campus students:

Coordinate reduction methods
Joint coordinate and point coordinate formulations

Assignments and Policy

A weekly assignment is required to be turned in by the due date. Some of these assignments are designed for hand calculation (pencil-and-paper approach). Students are encouraged to use computational tools to perform the necessary numerical calculations (MATLAB, etc.). Some of the assignments require programming. Students have the choice in choosing their own programming language/tools (MATLAB, Fortran, C, C++, ...). However, the preferred choice is MATLAB since some prepared programs will be provided to students in Matlab. Students must have access to the Matlab software.

Assignments must be prepared and organized neatly. You are encouraged not to prepare the assignments by hand; please use software such as Word and MathType (Equation Editor in Word) to prepare the assignments.

Submission of Assignments - Students can submit the assignments or the final report in any of the following forms:
  1. As a Word file attached to an email (due to incompatibilities between computers, this option may or may not work properly!).
  2. As a PDF file attached to an email (this is the preferred format). [Please name an attached files as, for example: Smith_HW3.pdf]
  3. Assignments could be properly addressed and Faxed to the instructor: (520) 621-8191
  4. On-campus students can turn in the assignments in hard copy in the class
Late Assignments - Any assignment received passed the due date will be graded with half the credits. Assignments received after the solution is posted will not be graded!


At least one or possibly two midterm exams and a final exam will be conducted.


Grades for homework assignments, programming assignments/projects, and exams will make the final grade for the course. The grade distribution is (tentative):

Homework and Project Assignments (pencil-and-paper and programming) 60%
Mid-terms and Final exams 40%
Total: 100%