Dynamics and control

Research in systems modelling and simulation, sensing, computation, and actuation.

Real structures and machines are rarely subjected to constant conditions. External influences such as force, speed, temperature and pressure change with time, and these changes generate a time-dependent (dynamic) response.

This dynamic response of a system is often a key factor in its overall performance. The design of modern, quiet and efficient engineering systems therefore requires a good understanding of dynamic response. Dynamics is the field of engineering concerned with predicting, measuring and analysing this response.

Control engineering concerns the design of automatic systems to control the behaviour of machines and processes. Effective control system design is critical in achieving optimal performance from machines and processes, and is dependent on a good understanding of the dynamics of the system that is to be controlled.

There is therefore a natural link between the fields of dynamics and control. Our research is heavily involved in:

  • System modelling and simulation (prediction of behaviour)
  • Sensing (gathering of data)
  • Computation (analysis of data)
  • Actuation (action taken in response to analysis of data).

Industrial partners and collaborators

Fisher & Paykel Ltd | Compac Sorting Equipment Ltd | Groupe d'Acoustique de L'Universite de Sherbrooke (GAUS) | Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR), University of Southampton


Part I

ENGGEN 121 Engineering Mechanics

Part II

MECHENG 222 Dynamics

Part III

MECHENG 322 Control Systems
MECHENG 325 Dynamics of Fluids and Structures

Part IV

MECHENG 722 Engineering Vibrations
MECHENG 724 Multivariable Control Systems
MECHENG 726 Acoustics for Engineers


MECHENG 720 Advanced Multivariable Control Systems
MECHENG 719 Advanced Engineering Vibrations

Mechatronics, dynamics and control laboratory

Our facilities support work in a range of areas, including the creation of structural dynamics and the active control of these structures. Specialist equipment include:

  • Polytec PSV 300 scanning laser vibrometer
  • Dantec torsional laser vibrometer
  • Vicon motion capture system in a dedicated laboratory

Other equipment includes a range of accelerometers, force transducers, impact hammers, electrodynamic shakers, spectrum analysers and computer-based data acquisition equipment. Modelling, data acquisition, processing, and control are supported by Matlab® and LabVIEW® software.

Our equipment are used in studies such as:

  • Control of autonomous vehicles, mobile robots, and wind turbines
  • Modelling of non-linear dynamic systems
  • Measurement, modelling and control of structural vibration
  • Smart materials for sensing, actuation and control of vibration
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Energy harvesting
  • Effects of uncertainty in vibration prediction and modelling
  • Wave finite elements and mid-frequency methods
  • Damping properties of granular materials
  • Dynamics and control of drones for physically interacting with the environment
  • Drone navigation and sensor fusion
  • Dynamics of offshore structures and wave energy converters