ENSC3004 Solid Mechanics

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Civil specialisation in the Engineering Science major sequence
  • Level 3 core unit in the Mechanical specialisation in the Engineering Science major sequence
  • Level 3 core unit in the Mining specialisation in the Engineering Science major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
This unit focuses on the relationship between stress and strain in solid, deformable, load-carrying structural and mechanical elements. Various types of loading such as tension, compression, bending, shear and torsion is considered as well as common failure modes and models. Design of structural and mechanical elements to withstand defined static loads is also covered. The objective of the unit is to develop an understanding of equilibrium, stress, strain, deformation and stability of 2D and 3D statically determinate and indeterminate structures, and to provide an introduction to the methods of analysis for design of structural and mechanical elements. The following major topics are covered: (1) concept of stress—tension, compression and shear; (2) stress and strain in 3D, generalised Hooke's law; (3) axially loaded members; (4) torsion; (5) shear forces and bending moments; (6) stresses in beams; (7) analysis of stress and strain; (8) applications of plane stress (pressure vessels, beams and combined loadings); (9) statically indeterminate beams; and (10) column buckling and stability.
Students are able to (1) choose references and sources of information relevant to the unit activities and use them to find relevant examples/information; (2) understand equilibrium conditions as applied to the analysis of structural and mechanical elements; (3) calculate reaction forces on a loaded element and draw normal force, shear force, torque and bending moment diagrams; (4) understand the relationship between stress and strain (Generalised Hooke's Law) in two dimensions and three dimensions; understand the relationship between Poisson's ratio, Young's modulus, shear modulus and bulk modulus; (5) calculate the normal stress and shear stress in structural elements induced by multidirectional loading; (6) understand the effects of different boundary conditions on the stress distribution in a loaded element; (7) understand the concept of stress concentration and its application to design; (8) assess cross-sectional properties and their effect on structural response to loading; (9) understand the stress/strain transformation, represent it using Mohr's circles and apply these and understand (including the mathematical bases) the concept of principal stress/strain and determine principal stress/strain in simple components under various types of loading; (10) understand the difference between ductile and brittle materials, and the choice of appropriate failure models; (11) understand and apply ideal (Euler's) column buckling model and stability criteria; and (12) apply the above to analyse the stress/strain state in simple mechanical components and interpret the results in terms of risk of the component failure.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quizzes; (2) lab reports; and (3) a final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Elena Pasternak
Unit rules
completion of 18 points of the Level 1 and Level 2 units taken from the degree-specific Engineering Science major, including (ENSC1002 Material Behaviour from Atoms to Bridges
ENSC2004 Engineering Mechanics) and [MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)]
Contact hours
in-class lectures (including continuous assessment): 3 hours a week (total 39 hours); practical classes: 24 hours (total)
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
Enrolled students can access unit materials via the LMS (Learning Management System).

Beer, F. P. et al. Mechanics of Materials, 6th edn: McGraw-Hill 2012

Gere, J. M. and Goodno, B. J. Mechanics of Materials, 7th SI edn: Cengage Learning 2009


  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.