In the previous chapter we derived differential equations of motion for translating systems. These equations can be used to analyze the behavior of the system and make design decisions. The most basic method is to select a standard input type (a forcing function) and initial conditions, and then solve the differential equation. It is also possible to estimate the system response without solving the differential equation as will be discussed later.

Figure 3.1 A system with an input and output response shows an abstract description of a system. The basic concept is that the system changes the inputs to outputs. Say, for example, that the system to be analyzed is an elevator. Inputs to the system would be the mass of human riders and desired elevator height. The output response of the system would be the actual height of the elevator. For analysis, the system model could be developed using differential equations for the motor, elastic lift cable, mass of the car, etc. A basic test would involve assuming that the elevator starts at the ground floor and must travel to the top floor. Using assumed initial values and input functions the differential equation could be solved to get an explicit equation for elevator height. This output response can then be used as a guide to modify design choices (parameters). In practice, many of the assumptions and tests are mandated by law or by groups such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the European Commission (CE).


Figure 3.1 A system with an input and output response

There are several standard input types used to test a system. These are listed below in order of relative popularity with brief explanations.

• step - a sudden change of input, from off to on and on to off, such as very rapidly changing a desired speed from 0Hz to 50Hz. These may repeat.

• ramp - a continuously increasing input, such as a motor speed that increases constantly at 10Hz per minute.

• sinusoidal - a cyclic input that varies continuously, such as wave height that is continually oscillating at 1Hz.

• parabolic - an exponentially increasing input, such as a motor speed that is 2Hz at 1 second, 4rad/s at 2 seconds, 8rad/s at 3 seconds, etc.

After the system has been modeled, an input type has been chosen, and the initial conditions have been selected, the system can be analyzed to determine its behavior. The most fundamental technique is to integrate the differential equation(s) for the system.