dynamics, branch of mechanics that deals with the motion of objects; it may be further divided into kinematics, the study of motion without regard to the forces producing it, and kinetics, the study of the forces that produce or change motion. Motion is caused by an unbalanced force acting on a body. Such a force will produce either a change in the body's speed or a change in the direction of its motion (see acceleration). The motion may be either translational (straight-line) or rotational. With the principles of dynamics one can solve problems involving work and energy and explain the pressure and expansion of gases, the motion of planets, and the behavior of flowing liquids and gases. Solids are rigid, having a definite shape, but fluids (liquids and gases) are not, and special branches of dynamics have been developed that treat the particular effects of forces and motions in fluids. These include fluid mechanics, the study of liquids in motion, and aerodynamics, the study of gases in motion. The applications of liquids both at rest and in motion are studied under hydraulics, a branch of engineering closely related to dynamics. The principles of dynamics may also be combined with the study of other phenomena, as in electrodynamics, the study of charges in motion.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.