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Role of the Generalized Methods of Mechanics in Electrical Engineering

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A sound foundation in generalized mechanics is an important element in broadly based electrical engineering curricula. It is suggested that neglect of this basic subject is frequently evidenced by incorrect or ineffective use of the methods of generalized mechanics in the solution of electrical engineering problems. Application of the principle of virtual work to the problem of the equilibrium forces for a system of electrically charged conductors, and of Lagrange's equations to the problem of the forces for a system of current-carrying conductors, are discussed as relevant examples. Reference is made to the far more general problems which can be effectively treated by dynamical methods, including electromechanical energy converters, generalized networks, and electrical and mechanical vibrations. The close relationship of state-variable methods to Hamilton's canonical equations is noted. Finally, the modem trend toward genealization of knowledge, the increasing stress on systems concepts, and the broadening interests of electrical engineers, all point to the desirability of including a significant treatment of variational mechanics in electrical engineering curricula.

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 1 )