ME102: Mechanics I

Course Syllabus for "ME102: Mechanics I"

Mechanics studies how forces affect bodies in motion—how, for example, a bullet is fired from a gun or a top is set in motion by the flick of a wrist.  As an engineer, you will find mechanics of vital importance to any field you choose to pursue.  Whether you are designing a bridge or implementing an electrical power unit for an elevator, you will need to know how to determine which forces can be applied to a body without causing it to break, what happens when bodies collide, how an object moves when different forces are applied to it, and so on.  This course will introduce you to the core concepts of mechanics that will enable you to answer these questions as you strive to design, test, and manufacture safe and reliable products. While most universities split introductory mechanics into two courses, with one devoted to statics and the other to solids, this course will introduce you to both areas.  You will begin by learning about statics—objects that are not accelerating (in other words, objects that are either at rest or moving at a constant speed).  In this course, you will be able to visualize and understand how rigid bodies react to applied forces without having to worry about how the rate of acceleration or deceleration will impact the body.  (These considerations are for later engineering courses that study dynamics.)  You will also learn how to solve force and moment problems by drawing free body diagrams and applying equilibrium equations.  You will learn to compute moments and resultants of force systems and study internal forces exerted on members.  You will analyze trusses, machines, and frames, as well as study the effects of friction on belts and wedges. Once you feel comfortable with statics, you will move on to solid analysis.  You will examine the effects that forces have on solids.  You will understand how forces produce stress and strain and deform bodies, as well as how bodies behave in elastic and plastic regions.  You will study stress developed in bodies due to linear forces and moments in pure tension or compression, bending, and torsion. In the later sections of this course, phenomena such as bending and fracture will come into play.  You will study stresses in beams, which are basic objects that are used to build the framework for a number of structures, including cars, bridges, and buildings.  You will analyze bodies and structures for various failure scenarios such as fracture, fatigue, creep, and buckling.  These are important concepts, as you need to know how to design products that will not break unexpectedly.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Identify and use units, notations, and vectors common in mechanics; convert between unit systems.
  • Perform vector calculations.
  • Identify, explain, and perform calculations using the concepts of forces, couples, and moments.
  • Use the concept of forces and moments to compute resultants and equivalents in mechanics.
  • Analyze and perform calculations for the mechanics of rigid bodies, such as trusses, frames, and machines.
  • Perform calculations involving friction including calculations concerning belts and pulleys.
  • Compute material properties of solid bodies, such as moments of inertia and mass moments of inertia.
  • Compute strain and stress and describe the relationship of stress and strain for both elastic and plastic bodies.
  • Compute stresses and strain in bodies subjected to tension and torsion.
  • Compute stresses and strain in pressure vessels and composites; identify and explain material properties for such components.
  • Identify and explain the concept of stress tensor and the constitutive relationship between strain and stress; perform calculations involving those concepts.
  • Compute stresses and strain in simple, composite, and curved beams; identify materials and loading configurations for such beams.
  • Explain how stress is computed experimentally or by using finite element formulations.
  • Identify and explain material failure scenarios, such as fracture, fatigue, creep, and buckling; perform calculations regarding such failure scenarios.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (Adobe Reader, Flash, etc.)

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer

√    Have the ability to download and install SCILAB

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.)

√    Have competency in the English language

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed the Following Courses: ME001/MA101ME002/MA102ME005/PHYS101, and ME101

Course Information

Welcome to ME102.  Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements. 
Course Designers: Stephanie Redfern, Ranjeet (Ron) Agarwala, and Dr. Steve Gibbs
Peer Reviewer: Dr. Steve Gibbs
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following free, online resources:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Pay special attention to Unit 1, as this unit lays the groundwork for understanding the more advanced, exploratory material presented in the later units.  For Unit 1, the emphasis is on performing calculations.  The second and third units are meant to introduce you to new ideas that you may explore in depth later in your education or career.  You will also need to complete the review exercises.  Pay special attention to these, and to example problems, since they will provide examples relevant to the final exam.

In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: You should be able to complete this course in approximately 106.5 hours.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  These should help you plan your time accordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.  
Tips/Suggestions: (1) Get into a routine for studying the material and do a little each day.  (2) Unit 1 requires extensive calculations, so you may want to learn to make sketches of the situations involved.  (3) Units 2 and 3 require reading complex material.  Skim through it first for scope, and then read for a more detailed understanding.  You may wish to revisit the complex parts several times after completing the course.