3R6. Mechanics of Machines. - V Ramamurti (Dept of Mech Eng, Indian Inst of Tech Madras, Chennai, 600 036, India). Narosa Publ, New Delhi, India. Distributed in USA by CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton FL. 2002. 310 pp. ISBN 0-8493-2431-9. $79.95.

Reviewed by RL Norton (Dept of Mech Eng, WPI, 100 Institute Rd, Worcester MA 01609).

According to the preface, this book is “intended as a textbook for undergraduate students and a reference for practicing engineers” whose purpose is to “update the information on this important subject of interest to mechanical engineers.” It falls short of that goal, as it contains little new information and is not up-to-date with current engineering practice in many areas. The book is compact (9 chapters in 310 pp), has a minimal (1.5 page) index, and very few references.

Chapter 1 is the introductory and gives definitions of links, joints, Grubler’s and Grashof’s laws (without naming or referencing them), kinematic chains, mechanism inversion, change points, etc. Unfortunately, these definitions are presented without rigor and with no reference to their sources or discoverers.

Chapter 2 covers kinematic analysis of rigid bodies using vector algebra. Equations for velocities and accelerations of the fourbar linkage and the fourbar slider crank (in two inversions) are presented, but the general equations for position analysis are not derived. Instant centers of velocity are discussed. Compound linkages are mentioned and a few examples shown but no analysis of them is presented. A very brief and limited discussion of 3D linkages is presented with one simple example shown.

Chapter 3 covers dynamics of rigid links, presenting analyses only of the slider crank (trigonometric) and the fourbar linkage (matrix method). Two simple 3D examples are presented. The discussion of inertia forces is incorrect.

The presentation of cam dynamics in Chapter 4 is woefully outdated, being typical of texts published as much as 50 years ago. It presents graphical techniques for cam profile generation that are obsolete, suggests that double-dwell motions having infinite jerk (parabolic and SHM) are good for high-speed applications, (which researchers showed false 50 years ago), and states that cams of circle-arc and straight-line combinations are suitable for high-speed operation, which they are not.

Chapters 5 and 6 on the theory of gears and power transmission are more complete and correct than the early chapters. This material is well presented. Epicyclic trains are more fully covered here than in many texts. Chain and belt drives are also covered.

Chapter 7 covers governors, a topic that is not generally found in similar texts. This is interesting information, though the influx of servomotors has made governors unnecessary in much modern machinery.

Chapter 8 presents a reasonably complete and classic treatment of balancing of rotating links and slider-crank engines of various cylinder arrangements.

Each chapter provides 10-30 problems and the appendices include a solutions manual for most of the problems and some Fortran code listings for various analysis topics.

In summary, Mechanics of Machines presents a typical collection of undergraduate kinematics/dynamics analysis topics (no synthesis or design). Unfortunately this book falls short of its stated goal to “update this information” as it recycles much that has appeared for many years in other similar (and old) texts, and in many cases does so in less than a general, rigorous, and complete manner.