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Applied mechanics is a branch of the physical sciences and the practical application of mechanics. Applied mechanics examines the response of bodies (solids and fluids) or systems of bodies to external forces. Some examples of mechanical systems include the flow of a liquid under pressure, the fracture of a solid from an applied force, or the vibration of an ear in response to sound. A practitioner of the discipline is known as a mechanician.

Applied mechanics, as its name suggests, bridges the gap between physical theory and its application to technology. As such, applied mechanics is used in many fields of engineering, especially mechanical engineering. In this context, it is commonly referred to as engineering mechanics. Much of modern engineering mechanics is based on Isaac Newton's laws of motion while the modern practice of their application can be traced back to Stephen Timoshenko, who is said to be the father of modern engineering mechanics.

Within the theoretical sciences, applied mechanics is useful in formulating new ideas and theories, discovering and interpreting phenomena, and developing experimental and computational tools. In the application of the natural sciences, mechanics was said to be complemented by thermodynamics by the American chemist Gilbert N. Lewis and the American physical chemist Merle Randall. The study of heat and more generally energy, and electromechanics, the study of electricity and magnetism.[1]

Contents

Applied mechanics in practice

As a scientific discipline, applied mechanics derives many of its principles and methods from the Physical sciences (in particular, Mechanics and Classical Mechanics), from Mathematics and, increasingly, from Computer Science. As such, Applied Mechanics shares similar methods, theories, and topics with Applied Physics, Applied Mathematics, and Computational Science.

As an enabling discipline, applied mechanics has received impetus from the study of natural phenomena such as orbits of planets, circulation of blood, locomotion of animals, crawling of cells, formation of mountains, and propagation of seismic waves. Such studies have resulted in disciplines such as celestial mechanics, biomechanics and geomechanics.

As a practical discipline, applied mechanics has also advanced by participating in major inventions throughout history, such as buildings, ships, automobiles, railways, petroleum refineries, engines, airplanes, nuclear reactors, composite materials, computers, and medical implants. In such connections, the discipline is also known as Engineering Mechanics, often practiced within Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Construction Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Structural engineering and Bioengineering.

Applied mechanics in engineering

Typically, engineering mechanics is used to analyze and predict the acceleration and deformation (both elastic and plastic) of objects under known forces (also called loads) or stresses.

When treated as an area of study within a larger engineering curriculum, engineering mechanics can be subdivided into

Major topics of applied mechanics

Examples of applications

See also

Further reading

  • J.P. Den Hartog, Strength of Materials, Dover, New York, 1949.
  • F.P. Beer, E.R. Johnston, J.T. DeWolf, Mechanics of Materials, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1981.
  • S.P. Timoshenko, History of Strength of Materials, Dover, New York, 1953.
  • J.E. Gordon, The New Science of Strong Materials, Princeton, 1984.
  • H. Petroski, To Engineer Is Human, St. Martins, 1985.
  • T.A. McMahon and J.T. Bonner, On Size and Life, Scientific American Library, W.H. Freeman, 1983.
  • M. F. Ashby, Materials Selection in Design, Pergamon, 1992.
  • A.H. Cottrell, Mechanical Properties of Matter, Wiley, New York, 1964.
  • S.A. Wainwright, W.D. Biggs, J.D. Currey, J.M. Gosline, Mechanical Design in Organisms, Edward Arnold, 1976.
  • S. Vogel, Comparative Biomechanics, Princeton, 2003.
  • J. Howard, Mechanics of Motor Proteins and the Cytoskeleton, Sinauer Associates, 2001.
  • J.L. Meriam, L.G. Kraige. Engineering Mechanics Volume 2: Dynamics, John Wiley & Sons., New York, 1986.
  • J.L. Meriam, L.G. Kraige. Engineering Mechanics Volume 1: Statics, John Wiley & Sons., New York, 1986.

References

  1. ^ Thermodynamics - and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances. Lewis, G. and M. Randall (1923)

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

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Simple English

Applied mechanics, also known as theoretical and applied mechanics, is a branch of the physical sciences and the practical application of mechanics. Applied mechanics examines the response of bodies (solids and fluids) to external forces. Some examples of mechanical systems include the flow of a liquid under pressure, the fracture of a solid from an applied force, or the vibration of an ear in response to sound. A practitioner of the discipline is known as a mechanician.

Applied mechanics, as its name suggests, bridges the gap between physical theory and its application to technology.


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