Mechanics is the branch of applied science and engineering that is concerned with the fundamental understanding of the behavior of systems and parts thereof when subjected to external stimuli, and the subsequent effects of the systems on their environment or surroundings. The understanding is gained through the development of mathematical models, physical experiments, and numerical simulations of the mathematical models. Many of the mathematical models of physical phenomena are based on fundamental scientific laws of physics and observations that are extracted from centuries of research on the behavior of mechanical and biological systems. This subject is referred to simply as mechanics - a phrase that encompasses broad fields of science and engineering concerned with the behavior of fluids, solids, and complex materials. Mechanics is vitally important to virtually every area of technology and remains an intellectually rich subject taught in all major universities.
The Mechanics Group teaches a number of theoretical mechanics subjects (continuum mechanics, elasticity, energy and variational methods, plates and shells, etc.), design processes, and computational techniques (linear and nonlinear finite elements) that enhance the ability to think and formulate engineering problems so that students can apply knowledge of science, mathematics and computations to carry out engineering tasks and work effectively in multidisciplinary environments. The group also conducts research at the forefront of multi–disciplinary areas and provides leadership through professional service activities. Research conducted by the mechanics faculty includes: foundations of thermomechanics of continua, viscoelasticity of solids and fluids, inelasticity of materials, damage and failure in composite materials and structures, smart materials and structures, refined theories and computational models of beams, plates, and shells, and modeling of biological systems, elastodynamics and nondestructive evaluation of structures, to name a few.