Modules in Mechanics of Materials

In 1996, the MIT subject 3.11 Mechanics of Materials in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering began using an experimental new textbook approach by Roylance (Mechanics of Materials, Wiley ISBN 0-471-59399-0), written with a strongly increased emphasis on the materials aspects of the subject. It also included several topics such as finite element methods, fracture mechanics, and statistics that are not included in most traditional Mechanics of Materials texts. These nontraditional aspects were designed to fit the curriculum in Materials Science and Engineering, but do not always fit the needs of instructors in other departments and schools.

One approach to increasing the flexibility and adaptability of this materials-oriented text is to make discrete and coherent portions of it available as stand-alone modules. Instructors could then pick and choose among topics, and assemble a subject offering in whatever way they choose. It would also be possible for instructors of specialty engineering subjects, for instance bridge or aircraft design, to add modules on mechanics of materials aimed at their own needs.

A series of such modules has been developed under a National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) grant aimed at strengthening the links in the engineering curriculum between materials and mechanics. The modules are pdf versions of LaTeX text files, and require an Acrobat-capable web browser for viewing or printing. The modules are numbered sequentially and ordered logically as in the Roylance text. Each module is intended to be capable of standing alone, so that it will usually be unnecessary to work through other modules in order to use any particular one. However, it is sometimes necessary to refer to earlier modules in order to avoid excessive repetition.

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