Continuum mechanics.

lmeca1901  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

Continuum mechanics.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
30.0 h + 30.0 h
Main themes
a. General theory of continuous media.
- Basic principles and physical justification of the continuity assumption. Tensor field representation. Invariance. Cylindrical and spherical coordinates.
- Principal concepts and tools to analyze the kinematics of deformable media (velocity, acceleration, strain, rotation, strain and rotation rates, Eulerian and Lagrangian representations).
- Principal concepts and laws governing the dynamics of continuous media. Stresses, Mohr circles. Conservation laws.
 - Elementary Thermodynamics of continuous media. Constitutive equations.
b. Applications.
- Solid Mechanics: Basic infinitesimal Thermo-Elasticity (elastic moduli, thermal effects). Classical analytical examples.
- Fluid Mechanics: Pressure, viscosity, and compressibility concepts. Newtonian viscous fluid model. Classical examples (e.g. flow in a pipe). Perfect fluid approximation and elementary applications.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 In consideration of the reference table AA of the program "Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering", this course contributes to the development, to the acquisition and to the evaluation of the following experiences of learning:
  • AA1.1, AA1.2, AA1.3
  • AA2.3, AA2.4, AA2.5
  • AA3.1, AA3.3
  • AA5.4, AA5.5, AA5.6
The objective is to provide a general introduction to the Mechanics of continuous media, together with its elementary applications to Solid and Fluid Mechanics. At the end of his learning, the student should have assimilated the principal concepts and laws governing the kinematics and dynamics of deformable media. In addition, he should understand the application of this theory to the cases (i) of infinitesimal Thermo-Elasticity, and (ii) of Newtonian and perfect Fluid Mechanics. Moreover, he should be able to apply these concepts to the solution of simple analytical problems.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
Introduction: Continuity assumption, tensorial field representation, invariance. Elements of kinematics: Velocity, acceleration, pathlines, strain and rotation rates, Eulerian and Lagrangian motion representations, material derivative, small displacements, strain, rotation, compatibility equations, transport theorem (Reynolds). Dynamics: Stresses, Mohr circles, conservation laws (mass, momentum, moment of momentum, energy). Thermodynamics: Clausius-Duhem inequality. Constitutive equations. Application to Solid Mechanics: Infinitesimal Thermo-Elasticity, isotropic media, elastic moduli. Isothermal or adiabatic problems: solution existence and uniqueness, examples, beam theory (St-Venant), elastic waves. Non-isothermal problems. Application to Fluid Mechanics: Viscous Newtonian fluid, Navier-Stokes equations, Poiseuille and Couette flows, flow in a pipe, Reynolds number, non-isothermal problems. Perfect isentropic or incompressible fluid flow approximation, irrotational flows, lift of an airfoil. Acoustic waves. Appendices: Introduction to tensor calculus. Cartesian and curvilinear coordinates.
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

A mid-term evaluation is organized. The obtained grade is included in the final grade if one passed the final exam (grade >= 10).
Written exam: theory (30-40%) and exercises (60-70%)
The lecturers will organize oral exams in case of technical problems during the written exam or whenever a fraud/cheating is suspected.
Other information
Prerequisite: Basic knowledge in Mathematics and Physics as obtained from previous basic formation. Evaluation procedure: Normal written exam, half on the theory and half on original exercises. Support: Lecture notes available on web page ( Some document photocopies are supplied if necessary. Teaching framework: exercises (in classes), and one or two interrogations (taken into account in the final evaluation in case of success). Associated stream: Basic module in Mechanics 50.10. Reduced part: Part A of the course (which does not include the application of the theory to Fluid Mechanics), includes 22,5h of theory and 22,5h of exercises, for 3,5 credits.
  • Support  de cours accessible sur page Web (
  • Photocopies de documents si nécessaire.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Filière en Chimie et physique appliquées

Mineure en sciences de l'ingénieur: chimie et physique appliquées (accessible uniquement pour réinscription)

Mineure en Chimie et Physique Appliquées

Mineure en Mécanique

Filière en Mécanique

Approfondissement en sciences physiques

Mineure en sciences de l'ingénieur : mécanique (accessible uniquement pour réinscription)