The University of Southampton

GENG0003 Mechanical Science

Module Overview

This module offers an introduction to the scientific principles and methods of mechanics.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To introduce the scientific principles relevant to mechanics. • To introduce the scientific principles relevant to electric, gravitational and, magnetic fields • To introduce the ideas of mathematical modelling as applied in mechanics and to simple fields.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Newton's laws of motion and their application to systems in equilibrium, and to rigid bodies moving under the action of simple systems of forces.
  • The concept of a vector and how vectors can be used to solve problems in mechanics
  • The concepts of momentum, work, energy and power
  • The ideas relevant to simple field theory, and common devices based on these principles
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Manage your own learning
  • Apply mathematical methods to solve problems
  • Apply problem solving techniques to familiar and unfamiliar problems
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply theoretical knowledge to model real-world systems and to solve simple practical problems in statics and in linear and rotational dynamics and simple field theory


Statics • scalar and vector quantities • addition, subtraction and resolution of coplanar vectors • moments, torques and couples • conditions for equilibrium of coplanar forces acting at a point and in simple structures • tensile and compressive stresses and strains, Hooke’s law, Young’s modulus, plastic deformation, elastic strain energy, yield stress, ultimate tensile stress, work done in stretching • centres of mass and centroids Linear Dynamics • Displacement, speed, velocity and acceleration; graphical representation of motion at i) constant speed ii) constant acceleration; use of equations of motion for constant acceleration • independence of motion in two perpendicular directions • force, mass and momentum • Newton’s laws of motion • systems with friction, limiting friction • efficiency of processes and sources of energy loss • conservation of momentum in two body collisions Work, Energy and Power • work = force × distance • power as rate of doing work • kinetic energy and change in gravitational potential energy • the principle of conservation of energy Rotational Dynamics • circular motion at constant speed, centripetal acceleration • angular displacement, speed, acceleration, frequency and period; rotational energy and momentum • circular motion with constant acceleration • moment of inertia Electro-magnetism • Electric charge, Coulomb’s Law, Electric Field E, Lines of Force – field due to spherically symmetric and planar charge distributions. Electric Fields • Electric Potential and Potential difference, Relation between E and V Charged conductors, screening of electric fields. • Capacitors from first principles- capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor, qualitative description of material dielectrics Magnetic Fields • Definition of the B field in terms of the force on a moving charge. Magnetic flux • Motion of charged particles in a magnetic field, force on a current carrying conductor – electric motor, loudspeakers. • The magnetic field created by moving charges – Biot-Savart Law.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Learning activities include • Individual work on examples, supported by tutorial/workshop sessions. • Elements of the coursework module GENG0015, may support your learning in this module. Teaching methods include • Lectures, supported by example sheets. • Tutorials/Workshops. • Printed notes available through Blackboard and/or through your module lecturer.

Completion of assessment task2
Preparation for scheduled sessions32
Follow-up work32
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bird & Ross (2002). Mechanical Engineering Principles. 

Any A level applied maths text. e.g. Understanding Mechanics, Sadler &Thorning, OUP, 1996, ISBN 0199146764, Hartley Library Classification QC 174.1 SAD

Any A level physics text. e.g. A Level Physics, Muncaster, Nelson Thornes, 4th edition, 1993, ISBN 0748715843, Hartley Library Classification QC 21 MUN


Assessment Strategy

External repeat students will have marks carried forward from the previous year for tests (5%), and therefore exam will contribute 95% of total assessment.


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (120 minutes) 95%
Test 1%
Test 1%
Test 1%
Test 1%
Test 1%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 95%
Test marks carried forward 5%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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