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NFYK10005U  Continuum Mechanics Volume 2015/2016

Course information

Credit7,5 ECTS
LevelFull Degree Master
Duration1 block
Block 3
Course capacityNo restriction to number of participants
Continuing and further education
Study boardStudy Board of Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience
Contracting department
  • The Niels Bohr Institute
Course responsible
  • Joachim Mathiesen (7-7064776b6c68764371656c316e7831676e)
Saved on the 27-04-2015
M.Sc. Physics

In the macroscopic world, most materials that surround us e.g. solids and liquids can safely be assumed to exist as continua, that is, the materials completely fill the space they occupy and the underlying atomic structures can be neglected. The course offers a modern introduction to the physics of continuous matter with an emphasis on examples from natural occurring systems (e.g. in the physics of complex systems and the Earth sciences). Focus is equally on the underlying formalism of continuum mechanics and phenomenology. In the course you will become familiar with the mechanical behavior of materials ranging from viscous fluids to elastic solids. 

A description of the deformation of solids is given, including the concepts of mechanical equilibrium, the stress and strain tensors, linear elasticity. A derivation is given of the Navier-Cauchy equation as well as examples from elastostatics and elastodynamics including elastic waves. A description of fluids in motion is given including the Euler equations, potential flow, Stokes' flow and the Navier-Stokes equation. Examples of numerical modeling of continous matter will be given.

Learning Outcome

At the conclusion of the course students will be able to use the fundamental physical laws of mass conservation, conservation of momentum, and conservation of energy to derive partial differential equations describing the behavior of objects modeled as a continuum. The students will be able to calculate the stress and strain during small deformations of linear elastic materials in simple geometries as well as basic examples of fluid flow.

The student will be able 1) to describe the flow of ideal fluids in basic idealized systems 2) to describe in detail the Navier-Stokes equation and 3) be familiar with stress and strain tensors, linear elasticity and the Navier-Cauchy equation

This course will provide the students with a competent background for further studies within this research field, e.g. an M.Sc. project. 
The course will provide the students with tools that have application in a range of fields within and beyond physics.


To be announced

Teaching and learning methods
Lectures and exercises
Restricted elective for specialisations "Geophysics" and "Bio- and Medical Physics"
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Credit7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min
Without preparation time
AidWithout aids
Marking scale7-point grading scale
Censorship formNo external censorship
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Criteria for exam assesment


Theory exercises35
Total 206,0
Saved on the 27-04-2015