MAGIC090: Introduction to Continuum Mechanics

Course details

A core MAGIC course


Spring 2022
Monday, January 31st to Friday, March 25th; Monday, April 25th to Friday, May 6th


Live lecture hours
Recorded lecture hours
Total advised study hours


13:05 - 13:55 (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


No bibliography has been specified for this course.


The assessment for this course will be released on Monday 9th May 2022 at 00:00 and is due in before Monday 23rd May 2022 at 11:00.

Assessment for all MAGIC courses is via take-home exam which will be made available at the release date (the start of the exam period).

You will need to upload a PDF file with your own attempted solutions by the due date (the end of the exam period).

If you have kept up-to-date with the course, the expectation is it should take at most 3 hours’ work to attain the pass mark, which is 50%.

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


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