Continuum Mechanics (L6) (G1158)

15 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

You will be introduced to the mathematical theory of continuum mechanics where, in contrast to classical mechanics, materials are modelled as a continuum of particles, rather than point masses.

You will learn the fundamental modelling assumptions in continuum mechanics and understand how to derive mathematical models – in the form of partial differential equations – describing the motion of continuum media. As an application, a selection of standard models will be studied, leading to the famous Euler and Navier-Stokes equations for fluids, and the theory of elastic solids.

Continuum mechanics is an extremely powerful theory and underpins the modelling of all physical phenomena that occur at length-scales much larger than interatomic distances and much smaller than astronomical distances. Indeed, to name a few examples, models for materials, building structures, earthquakes, tsunamis, weather fronts, and even supernovae – the explosion of massive stars – all use continuum mechanics, allowing us to build resistant structures, forecast weather or predict climate change among others.


100%: Lecture


20%: Coursework (Portfolio, Problem set)
80%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 117 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: