Introduction to Continuum Physics

Learn the physics of continuum systems by collaborating with learners like yourself to solve problems and understand fundamental concepts.
Introduction to Continuum Physics
This course is archived
Estimated 10 weeks
6–11 hours per week
Instructor-paced
Instructor-led on a course schedule

About this course

Skip About this course

If you want to learn the basic physics of solids, fluids, heat and mass transport, this is the course you have been looking for. It combines the power and beauty of mathematics with physical intuition for a comprehensive understanding of continuum physics.

The course begins with an overview of vectors and tensors. It then proceeds through fundamental concepts of motion, balance laws, constitutive relations and thermodynamics. This introductory course addresses mainly solid and fluid mechanics, but approaches them in a unified manner. The follow-up, advanced course extends this treatment to thermomechanics, variational principles and mass transport.

Finally, a word on the treatment of the subject: it is mathematical. We know of no other way to do continuum physics. While the course is rigorous, it is neither abstract nor formal. In every segment connections are made with the physics of the subject. Simple but instructive props such as a deformable plastic bottle, water and food coloring are used throughout the course. Finally, the time-honored continuum potato has been supplanted by an icon of American life: the continuum football.

At a glance

  • Language: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The language of tensor algebra and its ability to describe physics
  • How to make the transition from discrete to continuum physical systems
  • The notion of geometric nonlinearity
  • The common basis of balance laws and constitutive relations for physics

About the instructors