Principles and Applications of Strength of Materials (H7102)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

Have you ever asked yourself why objects break? It happens in nature and every area of human activity. To answer this question, we have to look not only at the shape of the object and the loads acting on it but also deep inside it – at the structure of the materials, the strength of the bonds between the particles making it, the purity of the material and many other factors.

In Newtonian Mechanics, you looked at the objects from an outside perspective. In this module, you look at what happens inside it – at the internal forces that develop and react to the external loading. To do this effectively and efficiently, we introduce and use the concepts of stress and strain.

Engineers can use software packages as tools for solving complex problems related to the strength and physical performance of mechanical parts and assemblies. No matter how convenient these tools are, they cannot replace the simple, analytical calculations of stresses and deflections, which are the object of study of Strength of Materials. This discipline introduces you to fundamental concepts, which allow you to understand the physical phenomena that takes place when materials are under the action of forces.

By mastering those fundamental concepts, you are not only able to carry out quick calculations, but can use numerical tools, and even improve them. These concepts are vital to the mechanical design process.

Topics include:

  • internal forces in solids
  • stress and strain
  • uniaxial stress and strain
  • tension - compression
  • statically indeterminate systems in tension - compression
  • buckling
  • biaxial stress
  • thin-walled pressure vessels
  • plane stress
  • relationships between stress and strain
  • elastic failure criteria
  • stress measurement
  • torsional loading
  • springs
  • strain energy in torsion
  • beam bending theory
  • shear force and bending moment diagrams
  • stresses and deflections in bending
  • strain energy in bending
  • indeterminate beams
  • dynamic loading
  • thick wall cylinders
  • rotating discs
  • elementary plastic design.


75%: Lecture
25%: Practical (Laboratory, Workshop)


27%: Coursework (Report)
73%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 50 hours of contact time and about 100 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: