Upcoming Webinar

Teaching Rigid Body Dynamics – a combination of symbolic and numeric computing

September 19, 2017
Session 1:
9:00 a.m. U.S. EDT/ 2:00 p.m. BST / 3:00 p.m. CEST
Session 2:
2:00 p.m. U.S. EDT / 7:00 p.m. BST/ 8:00 p.m. CEST


In this presentation, we’ll demonstrate how to use MATLAB to implement a Lagrangian dynamics approach for deriving equations of motion of rigid body systems. The proposed workflow incorporates tasks involving both symbolic and numeric computing – a natural combination that leads to deeper learning engagements with students.

In the first half of this session we’ll introduce the fundamental computing patterns that are needed in the derivations. In the second half of the session, these computing patterns are then applied to derive the equations of motion for a 4-LINK non-planar robotic manipulator.


    In this session, we’ll demonstrate how the following deeper learning attributes are encouraged with students:
  • How complex problems can be broken down into a series of smaller problems.
  • How curiosity can be fostered, leading to students wanting to “create” and “do”
    • Remove the tedium associated with equation derivation AND focus instead on thinking about the foundation physics of the problem.
    • Immediately and easily, solve(numerically) the derived equations.
  • How positive emotions to learning are fostered by a HELP/DOC system that acts as a companion during the learning and discovery process.

About the Presenter

Bradley Horton is a member of the Academic Technical Evangelist team at MathWorks, helping faculty members better utilize MATLAB and Simulink for education and research. Bradley has supported and consulted for clients on projects in process control engineering, power systems simulation, military operations research, and earthquake impact modelling. Before joining MathWorks, Brad spent 5 years as a systems engineer with the Defence Science & Technology Organisation (DSTO) working as an operations research analyst. Bradley holds a B.Eng. in Mechanical engineering and a B.Sc. in Applied mathematics.

Product Focus

  • Symbolic Math Toolbox
  • Simulink®
  • Simscape Multibody