MAGIC090: Introduction to Continuum Mechanics

Course details

A core MAGIC course


Spring 2021
Monday, January 25th to Friday, March 19th; Monday, April 26th to Friday, May 7th


Live lecture hours
Recorded lecture hours
Total advised study hours


10:05 - 10:55 (UK)


The theory of continuous media is the common denominator of several physical theories concerned with the global (macroscopic) behaviour of substances under the influence of external agents.

Two main examples of such theories are fluid mechanics and elasticity theory.

The main feature which distinguishes continuum mechanics from other physical theories like, for example, quantum mechanics, is that all the fine microscopic details are disregarded; in particular, it is assumed that the highly discontinuous structure of matter can be replaced by a smoothed hypothetical body.

Quantities such as density, displacement and velocity (the so-called field variables) are taken to be continuous functions of position and their values are calculated via axiomatic rules. 

In this course we develop the general mathematical apparatus required for the analysis of the deformation of solids and the flow of fluids.

An understanding of continuum mechanics is of paramount importance in many applications, including meteorology, seismology, chemical engineering, biomechanics, civil engineering, aircraft design, etc. 


Vector Calculus, Linear Algebra, Newtonian Dynamics


  1. Vectors and tensors. 
  2. Kinematics (the geometry of deformation and strain). 
  3. Balance Laws (mechanical stress, Cauchy's equation of motion) 
  4. Constitutive behaviour (objectivity, elastic materials, hyperelasticity, incompressibility) 
  5. Linear elasticity and boundary-value problems. 


  • LH

    Dr Layal Hakim

    University of Exeter


Follow the link for a book to take you to the relevant Google Book Search page

You may be able to preview the book there and see links to places where you can buy the book. There is also link marked 'Find this book in a library' - this sometimes works well, but not always - you will need to enter your location, but it will be saved after you do that for the first time.

  • Course on Continuum Mechanics (Ciprian D. Coman, )
  • Continuum Mechanics (Peter Chadwick, book)
  • An Introduction to Continuum Mechanics (Morton E. Gurtin, book)
  • The Linearized Theory of Elasticity (William S. Slaughter, book)
  • Non-Linear Elastic Deformations (Raymond W. Ogden, book)
  • Introduction to the Mechanics of a Continuous Medium (Lawrence E. Malvern, )


The assessment for this course will be released on Monday 10th May 2021 at 00:00 and is due in before Monday 24th May 2021 at 11:00.

There will be one assessment, and will be in the form of a take-home examination. 
You should aim to complete the exam in 2 hours. 
There are 50 marks overall and your score will be converted to percentage.
Answer all questions correctly to achieve the maximum possible mark of 100%. 
A pass mark is 50%. 

Please note that you are not registered for assessment on this course.


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