1.050 | Fall 2004 | Undergraduate

Solid Mechanics


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Labs: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Course Introduction by Prof. Louis Bucciarelli


The aim is to introduce students to the fundamental concepts and principles applied by engineers - whether civil, mechanical, aeronautical, etc. - in the design of structures of all sorts of sizes and purpose. We build upon the mathematics and physics courses of the freshman year, extending Newtonian Mechanics to address and understand the elastic behavior of trusses and frames, beams and cylinders. We aim also to engage students in the formulation and resolution of open-ended, design-type exercises, thereby bridging the divide between scientific theory and engineering practice.


Bucciarelli, Louis. Engineering Mechanics for Structures, Fall 2002. (The full text is published in the readings section.)

Also required: Mead Quad Composition notebook.

Other Resources

Crandall, S., N. Dahl, and T. Lardner. An Intro. to the Mechanics of Solids. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1978. ISBN: 0070134367.

Gere, James. Mechanics of Materials. 6th ed. New York, NY: Thomson Engineering Publishing, 2003. ISBN: 0534417930.


Quizzes 30%

There will be two one-hour, closed-book quizzes given during the semester.

Design Exercises 40%

There will be six, short (~two, three day, take-home), open-ended exercises assigned throughout the semester. You will document your work in a journal (the Mead Composition book).

Final Exam 30%

There will be a final exam.


Homework will be assigned weekly, evaluated and returned to you (within a week). It will serve as a basis for discussion with the Teaching Assistant and Professor Bucciarelli.

Design Exercise Journal Instructions

The journal, the quad-ruled composition book, 10 1/4 X 7 7/8 in, is for recording your work as you progress. Think of its contents, not as a polished text for presentation, nor as a complete record of every thought and word that comes to mind, but as a sufficiently full account of your thinking which would enable you to go back after some time has elapsed to reconstruct your reasoning, conjectures, and analysis. Write in ink. If you change your mind or find an error, don’t erase; drawn a line through what is no longer wanted.

Put your name, email, and phone number somewhere prominent; if lost, you want it returned. Leave the first few pages blank; make up a table of contents here as you go along. number the pages as you go along.

At the end of each exercise, summarize, on one or two pages, the results of your efforts - e.g, a dimensioned sketch; an explanation of what parameters are critical; a restating of specifications; a note of difficult constraints.

Two grades will be assigned for each exercise: One for “presentation”, the other for “analysis”. These two are not entirely independent. If your presentation is too cryptic or unreadable, evaluation of your analysis may be impossible and you will receive no credit. If your analysis omits references to sources - other students, a Web url, a reference textbook - your presentation will be judged inadequate and unethical. The two grades count equally.

Think of it this way:

Process is as important as product; means as important as ends.

Important Note About Academic Honesty

We encourage you to work with your peers on homework and the design exercises. We do not condone copying. What is the difference? A valued and honest collaboration occurs when, for example, you “get stuck” early on in attacking an exercise and go to your classmate with a relevant question. Your colleague then has the opportunity to learn from your question as well as help you. You then bring something to the collaboration.

Often we will form teams of two or three students to tackle the design exercises. And you can learn too from last year’s problem sets and quizzes if used as a check or corrective when you seem to have hit a dead end. In doing the design exercises, you may have occasion to use the Web as a resource. We encourage that too. In all cases you are to reference your sources and collaborators, whether other students, the Web, archived solutions, etc.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2004
Learning Resource Types
Course Introduction
Activity Assignments
Problem Sets with Solutions
Design Assignments