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The University of Southampton

ELEC1203 Mechanics

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Basic concepts and principles in mechanics of solids
  • Energy methods
  • Dynamics of particles and vehicles; rotation of a rigid body
  • Energy and momentum conservation
  • Statically determinate and indeterminate systems
  • Relations between stress, strain and deformation
  • Mechanical properties of matter
  • Basics of beam design and structural analysis
  • Applications of superposition principle
  • Buckling and stability of columns
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Derive particle and vehicle trajectory equations
  • Predict motion of rigid bodies
  • Calculate stresses and strains in mechanical systems
  • Formulate stability criteria and explore mechanical instabilities
  • Analyse simple mechanical systems
  • Indentify failure criteria for mechanical systems
  • Calculate beams deflection and twisting of shafts
  • Apply superposition principle for analysis of combined loading
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Work in a small team to conduct an experiment
  • Operate simple instrumentation equipment
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explain the meaning and consequences of mechanics
  • Demonstrate theory of mechanics applied to simple practical situations
  • Explain the design principles for simple mechanical devices
  • Apply mathematical methods and vector algebra to mechanical problems


Introduction - Basic Concepts - Fundamental Laws - Units - Scalar & Vector Particle Dynamics - Newton's Laws of Motion - Particle motion for constant and variable force - Energy and Momentum - Work done by Force - Kinetic and Potential Energy - Energy and Momentum Conservation - Friction - Linear Momentum - Collisions between particles Dynamics of Rigid Bodies - Rotation of rigid body about a fixed axis - Angular Momentum - Conservation of Angular Momentum - Moments of inertia - Inertia Matrix Mechanics of Engineering structures - Statics, structural and solid body component - Stress, strain and deformation, elastic and plastic deformation - Tension, compression and torsion - Determinate and indeterminate systems Theory of Torsion - Solid and thin-walled cylinder, torque, shear stress and angle of twist Two Dimensional Analysis of Stress - Stresses on a plane inclined to the direction of loading; normal and shear stresses - An element subjected to a general two dimensional stress system - Mohr's stress circle, principal stresses and planes, maximum shear stress Shearing Force, Bending Moment and Torque Diagrams - Sear force and bending moment diagrams; torsion of members - Relations between torque, shear stress & strain, angle of twist - Principle of superposition Bending of Beams - Shear forces, bending moment distributions and deformation - Stress-strain relationship in pure bending - Section modulus and flexural rigidity, properties of areas - Deflection of beams due to bending moments, effects of support conditions, double-integration method and Macaulay's notations - Beams made of dissimilar material - Eccentric loading and Asymmetrical bending - Statically Indeterminate Beams Strain Energy - Elastic strain energy, normal stress and shear, strain energy in bending - Buckling Buckling instability, effects of support conditions.

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice20
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Follow-up work24
Completion of assessment task18
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Benham PP, Crawford RJ, Armstrong CG (1996). Mechanics of Engineering Materials. 

Hibbeler RC (2008). Mechanics of Materials. 

Bedford A, Fowler WL (2001). Engineering mechanics: dynamics. 

Meriam JL, Kraige LG (2007). Engineering mechanics, Vol. 2, Dynamics. 

Beer FP, Johnston ER (1977). Vector mechanics for engineers: statics and dynamics. 


Assessment Strategy

Final examination on stress-strain relations, Hook's law and beam theory (75%), 2 assignments on conservation laws (15%) plus 2 technical labs (10%) to consider Stress, Strain and Structural Beam Theory, addressing the above-listed learning outcomes. The labs are conducted under the umbrella of ELEC1029 but the marks contribute towards this module.


MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 25%
Final Assessment  75%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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