A free body diagram (FBD) is a graphic representation of a body (element or segment of an element, sub-assembly, or assembly) in which all connecting bodies have been removed, or the body is “freed” from connecting bodies, to shows all forces acting on the body. Drawing a FBD is to facilitate writing equations of equilibrium to determine the unknown forces and moments. Drawing a FBD correctly is thus an important skill for engineering students.
Many students have troubles master this skill as there are insufficient examples in the textbooks, especially in the junior and senior level of design courses. Over the year, the author has created many FBDs to assist student’s learning, and in this paper, the author presents several examples using animated GIF files to guide students to develop FBDs step-by-step. The animated FBD file is analogous to the animated exploded view commonly seen in CAD software packages, and the animated GIF file can be easily incorporated in PowerPoint presentation.
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