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Unit Overview


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.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

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.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Elena Pasternak
Unit rules
ENSC1002 Material Behaviour from Atoms to Bridges
or ENSC2004 Engineering Mechanics
and MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
( MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
or MATX1011 Multivariable Calculus
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
or MATX1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
Contact hours
in-class lectures (including continuous assessment): 3 hours a week (total 39 hours)
practical classes: 24 hours (total)
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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.