The University of Southampton

ELEC3215 Fluids and Mechanical Materials

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- To outline the basic principles underlying the behaviour of fluids. - To provide knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of fluid mechanics. - To provide knowledge and understanding of structure of polymers and composites and how this determines mechanical properties. - To introduce the laws of thermodynamics and their applications in a range of problems and maintaining systems stability, stability of loads.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The underlying principles governing Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics
  • The molecular characteristics of polymers and the application of thermodynamic principles to explain aspects of the behaviour of polymers
  • Solve common fluid mechanics design problems, including examples of conservation of mass, momentum and energy analysis
  • The mechanical behaviour of fluids, polymers, viscoelastic materials, semicrystalline polymers, crystalline structures and composites
  • Failure mechanisms of modern engineering materials: metal alloys, polymers, ceramics, composites
  • Understand the laws of thermodynamics, the Energy Equation and the importance of entropy
  • Techniques used to determine the structure and mechanical properties of materials
  • Make general predictions about the ability of the given material to resist failure
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Study and learn independently
  • Demonstrate study and time management skills
  • Solve mathematically based problems for engineering applications
  • Use fundamental knowledge to identify pertinent information for analysis
  • Solve numerical problems
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify the appropriate model for fluid mechanical problems and determine a solution
  • Explain the failure mechanism for given sample
  • Interpret micrographs in relation to mechanical properties
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Outline the fundamental behaviour of fluids
  • Design composite materials to meet particular mechanical requirements
  • Understand the terminology of thermodynamics and be able to communicate with other engineers. Know the different forms of energy and understand what is meant by work and heat
  • Relate the microstructure and composition of materials to their mechanical properties and B8. Select materials for different applications based on the constraints of the given applications
  • Calculate the extent of diffusion-driven composition changes and to predict the equilibrium microstructure of a material from the phase diagram
  • Specify an appropriate heat treatment to improve alloy’s mechanical properties given the phase diagram for that alloy
  • Recommend methods for prevention of metallic corrosion


Introduction Fluids and Other Materials: - Properties: density, pressure, temperature, viscosity, surface -tension/capillary action - Definitions: Newtonian fluids, non-Newtonian fluids, plastics Hydrostatics: - Hydrostatic pressure and head, absolute/gauge and atmospheric pressure, the hydrostatic paradox, measurement by manometer - Forces on free surfaces - Buoyancy and submerged and floating body stability Fluid mechanics: - Compressible and incompressible flow - Laminar and turbulent flow, Reynold’s number, mean velocity - Continuity of flow (conservation of mass). - Conservation of momentum - Applications: force on plates from jets, pipes and curved pipes from jets, jet reaction - Force/propulsion - Streamlines, Euler’s equation, Bernoulli’s equation, and Navier-stokes - Applications: Closed conduit flow/ pipe flow, Reynolds number, friction loss, Moody diagram Thermodynamics 1 - Introduction and thermodynamic terminology, systems (open and closed), properties, processes, cycles, work, heat, specific heat, temperature (zeroth law of thermodynamics), internal energy, enthalpy. - First Law of Thermodynamics First law and SFEE; specific heats of gases, application to non-flow processes Fluid mechanics and Thermodynamics: - Applications of SFEE to nozzles, diffusers, turbines - Conservation of energy and applications to fluid flow, pitot tube, ecryst meter Thermodynamics 2: - Second Law of Thermodynamics Statement of the law, heat engines, cycle efficiency, reversible and irreversible cycles and processes, the Carnot cycle, the reversed Carnot cycle, concept of entropy. Molecular Structure of Polymers: - Polymerisation - Molecular architecture - Copolymerisation - Thermoplastics and thermosets Amorphous Polymers: - Brittle materials - The glass transition - The thermodynamics of deformation - The entropy spring - Viscoelasticity, creep, stress relaxation and superposition - Representations of elastic and viscous behaviour - The Kelvin Model of viscoelasticity - The Maxwell Model of viscoelasticity Ordering in Polymers: - The thermodynamics of crystallisation - Fractionation, segregation and properties - Environmental stress cracking and crazing - Synthetic and biological fibres - Fibre compactions Blends and Composites: - The thermodynamics of mixing - The mechanical properties of miscible and immiscible blends - Copolymerisation – structure and mechanical properties - Anisotropy in aligned long-fibre composites - Short fibre composites – end effects, and orientation Properties of engineering materials relevant to failure: - Engineering stress-strain curves - Yield strength and hardness - Brittle and ductile materials; impact and fracture toughness - Fatigue and creep resistance - Corrosion Elements of fracture mechanics: - Criteria for brittle and ductile fracture, relation between yield strength and toughness, Ductile- Brittle Transition Temperature - Designing of tough materials, metal-matrix composites Metals and Alloys: microstructure vs mechanical properties - Crystalline and polycrystalline solids, grains and grain boundaries - Dislocations motion as a primary plastic deformation mechanism - Grain size, solution, order, precipitation and dispersion strengthening - Energy stored in grain boundaries and dislocations, effect of Cold Work - Microstructure control in metal alloys during solidification - Free energy as a driving force, phase diagram, partition coefficient - Annealing: recovery, ecrystallization and grain growth - Precipitation, nucleation and growth, dispersion strengthened alloys Diffusion: - Thermal activation - Steady-state and transient processes - Surface hardening via diffusion

Learning and Teaching

Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Follow-up work18
Completion of assessment task11
Wider reading or practice49
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Douglas et al. Fluid Mechanics. 

Cengel YA and Boles MA (2008). Thermodynamics An Engineering Approach. 

W.D. Callister. Materials Science and Engineering, an Introduction. 

R.L.Mott. Applied Fluid Mechanics. 

Cengel Y A (1997). Introduction to Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer. 

D. Hull and T.W. Clyne (1996). An Introduction to Composite Materials. 

P.A. Lovell and R.J. Young (1991). Introduction to Polymers. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 80%
Problem Sheets 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

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