Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse – Københavns Universitet

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Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse

Continuum Mechanics

Practical information
Study year 2016/2017
Block 3
Programme level Full Degree Master
Course responsible
  • Joachim Mathiesen (7-6f63766a6b67754270646b306d7730666d)
  • The Niels Bohr Institute
Course number: NFYK10005U

Course content

In the macroscopic world, most materials that surround us e.g. solids and liquids can safely be assumed to exist as continua, that is, the materials completely fill the space they occupy and the underlying atomic structures can be neglected. The course offers a modern introduction to the physics of continuous matter with an emphasis on examples from natural occurring systems (e.g. in the physics of complex systems and the Earth sciences). Focus is equally on the underlying formalism of continuum mechanics and phenomenology. In the course you will become familiar with the mechanical behavior of materials ranging from viscous fluids to elastic solids. 

A description of the deformation of solids is given, including the concepts of mechanical equilibrium, the stress and strain tensors, linear elasticity. A derivation is given of the Navier-Cauchy equation as well as examples from elastostatics and elastodynamics including elastic waves. A description of fluids in motion is given including the Euler equations, potential flow, Stokes' flow and the Navier-Stokes equation. Examples of numerical modeling of continous matter will be given.

Learning outcome

At the conclusion of the course students will be able to use the fundamental physical laws of mass conservation, conservation of momentum, and conservation of energy to derive partial differential equations describing the behavior of objects modeled as a continuum. The students will be able to calculate the stress and strain during small deformations of linear elastic materials in simple geometries as well as basic examples of fluid flow.

The student will be able 1) to describe the flow of ideal fluids in basic idealized systems 2) to describe in detail the Navier-Stokes equation and 3) be familiar with stress and strain tensors, linear elasticity and the Navier-Cauchy equation

This course will provide the students with a competent background for further studies within this research field, e.g. an M.Sc. project. 
The course will provide the students with tools that have application in a range of fields within and beyond physics.


Restricted elective for specialisations "Geophysics" and "Bio- and Medical Physics"

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M.Sc. Physics


Study Board of Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience

Course type

Single subject courses (day)


1 block


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Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and exercises


No restriction to number of participants




To be announced


Category Hours
Lectures 24
Theory exercises 35
E-Learning 0,5
Exam 146,5
English 206,0


Type of assessment

Oral examination, 30 min
Without preparation time


Without aids

Marking scale

7-point grading scale

Criteria for exam assessment


Censorship form

No external censorship
More internal examiners
Mere information om kurset
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