- #1

cancerman1

- 10

- 3

**TL;DR Summary:**Is there a mental model for setting up equations of motion and related mathematical equations when tackling mechanics problems?

Hi there,

I'm going through a first year mechanics textbook (An Introduction to Mechanics by Kleppner et al) from MIT OpenCourseware as I'm interested in self-studying mechanical engineering. I'm having a hard time conceptually setting up these problems (equations of motion and related mathematical formulas) which makes solving problems very hard. I've tried following the recommended 6 steps [ a. isolate masses; b. draw force diagrams; c. show coordinate system for forces; d. write equations of motion; e. write constraint equations; f. solve].

I typically get stuck in setting up the problem, especially the math.

What are some ways to think about setting up these types of problems? Each time I go through a practice example problem, I find that the approach is very different from the previous examples which makes it hard to build a mental model around.