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Mec E 680: Continuum Mechanics

Instructor: P. Schiavone, 5-1D Mechanical Engineering Building (West Tower)

(Contact:, 780 492 3638,

Course Objectives: This course is a general introduction to the fundamental concepts of the mechanics of
continuous media. We discuss the kinematics of deformation, the concept of stress and the
conservation/balance laws for mass, momentum and energy. This is followed by an introduction to
constitutive theory with applications to well-established theories of elastic solids and viscous fluids. The
concepts are illustrated through the use of tractable boundary- and initial-value problems.

Lectures: TR 0930 1050hrs, ETLE 1 008

Office Hours: WF 1400 1500 hrs or by appointment.

Prerequisites: Admission to graduate program, some prior exposure to the elementary mechanics of solids
and fluids and the usual undergraduate mathematics courses (advanced calculus, partial differential equations
and linear algebra).

Assignments: Approx 8 assignments will be distributed in class - to reinforce lecture material
(not graded).

Grading: Two midterm exams (25% , 25%); Final exam (50%). A combination of a particular distribution
and absolute measures or marks will determine the final grades.

Examinations: Midterm Examination #1: 0930 1050hrs, Thursday October 17 2013
Midterm Examination #2: TAKE-HOME, Thursday November 14 2013
Final Examination 0900 1100hrs, Friday December 13 2013, Venue: TBD
(Midterm examination #1 in class. All in-class examinations open lecture notes (only))
Unexcused absences from a midterm examination will result in a mark of ZERO. In the case of an
excused absence from a midterm examination, the corresponding weight will be transferred to the
In the case of the FINAL EXAMINATION, any deferred examination in this course will be held
sometime prior to Reading Week 2014.

Calculator Policy: Approved programmable or approved non-programmable calculators permitted


I. Mathematical preliminaries:
1. Linear spaces.
2. Vectors and tensors in Euclidean spaces.
3. Tensor algebra and calculus.
II. Kinematics of deformation:
1. Bodies, configurations, motions. Lagrangian and Eulerian descriptions.
2. Material time derivatives and associated formulae.
3. Deformation gradient and other kinematical measures of deformation.
4. Velocity gradient, stretching and spin tensors.
5. Reynolds transport theorems.

III. Physical principles:
1. Mass conservation.
2. Definition of forces.
3. Balance of linear momentum and moment of momentum.
4. Traction vector and stress tensor.
5. Local (differential) equations of motion.
6. Alternative stress measures and their rates.

IV. Constitutive theory:
1. Principle of material frame indifference. Objectivity and simple materials
2. Material symmetry: isotropy and anisotropy. Representation theorem for isotropic functions.
3. Hyperelastic materials; strain-energy functions
4. Internal constraints
5. Examples of constitutive laws (fluids and solids)

Recommended Text: P. Chadwick. Continuum Mechanics: Concise Theory and Problems,
Dover Publications; 2nd Expand edition (November 15, 1999)

Further Reading:

1. C. Truesdell and R.A. Toupin. The classical field theories. In: S. Flugge, ed., Handbuch der Physik
III/1, pp. 226-793. Springer Verlag, Berlin 1960.
2. C. Truesdell and W.Noll. The non-linear field theories of mechanics. In: S. Flugge, ed., Handbuch
der Physik III/3. Springer Verlag, Berlin 1965.
3. L.E. Malvern. Introduction to the Mechanics of a Continuous Medium. Prentice-Hall, Englewood
Cliffs, N.J ., 1969.
4. G.E. Mase, Schaums Outlines on Theory and Problems of Continuum Mechanics, McGraw-Hill,
N.Y., 1970.
5. A.J .M. Spencer. Continuum Mechanics, Dover Publications; Dover Ed edition (April 9, 2004).
6. W. Prager. Introduction to Mechanics of Continua, Dover, N.Y. 1961.
7. M.E. Gurtin. An Introduction to Continuum Mechanics. Academic Press, N.Y., 1981.
8. C.A. Truesdell. A First Course in Rational Continuum Mechanics. Academic Press, Boston, 2

University Policy:

Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.
The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and
honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic
honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly
urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online
at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially
result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in
an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion
from the University.

Recording of Lectures:

"Recording is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor or if recording is part of
an approved accommodation plan."