Introduction to Continuum Physics

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Learn the physics of continuum systems by collaborating with learners like yourself to solve problems and understand fundamental concepts.

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If you want to learn the basic physics of solids, fluids, heat and mass transport, this is the course you have been looking for. It combines the power and beauty of mathematics with physical intuition for a comprehensive understanding of continuum physics.

The course begins with an overview of vectors and tensors. It then proceeds through fundamental concepts of motion, balance laws, constitutive relations and thermodynamics. This introductory course addresses mainly solid and fluid mechanics but approaches them in a unified manner. The follow-up, the advanced course extends this treatment to thermomechanics, variational principles and mass transport.

Finally, a word on the treatment of the subject: it is mathematical. We know of no other way to do continuum physics. While the course is rigorous, it is neither abstract nor formal. In every segment, connections are made with the physics of the subject. Simple but instructive props such as a deformable plastic bottle, water and food colouring are used throughout the course. Finally, the time-honoured continuum potato has been supplanted by an icon of American life: the continuum football.

  • The language of tensor algebra and its ability to describe physics
  • How to make the transition from discrete to continuum physical systems
  • The notion of geometric nonlinearity
  • The common basis of balance laws and constitutive relations for physics
Introduction to Continuum Physics

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  1. […] or increase themselves. In order to truly understand every angle of all complex systems – physical, biological, and cultural – we need to understand how and when they collapse, and what all […]

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