Structural Mechanics (CIVL2201)


The primary objective of this unit is to understand internal actions (forces and moments) in structures (deformable objects) under loads in three key areas: how structures resist external loads by internal actions; the distribution of internal actions within structures; and the deformations, stresses and strains associated with the internal actions. At the end of this unit, students should be able to understand the basic methods of load transfer in structures - tension, compression, bending, shear and torsion (internal actions); apply the equations of equilibrium to determine the distribution of internal actions in a simple structure by drawing BMDs, SFDs, AFDs, and TMDs; understand the significance and methods of calculation of the geometric properties of structural sections (I, Z, S, J etc); understand the effect of internal forces and deformations of bodies through the concept and calculation of strains and stresses; appreciate the behaviour of structures by analysing structures without numerical calculations; display a knowledge of basic material properties, combined stresses and failure criteria; and demonstrate their hands-on experience of the behaviour of structural members via experiments and the ability to prepare written reports on those experiments. Emphasis in the assessment scheme will be placed on understanding structural behaviour and solving problems, rather than remembering formulae or performing complex calculations. The course seeks to utilise and improve the generic skills of students, in areas such as problem solving, neat and logical setting out of solutions, report writing, and team work. The syllabus comprises introduction; equilibrium; internal actions: BMDs, SFDs, AFDs, and TMDs; elasticity, stress and strain, and basic material properties; axial forces: tension and compression; elastic bending of beams; shear force and shear stresses in beams; torsion; deflection of beams; pipes and pressure vessels; trusses; material properties, combined stresses and yield criteria; advanced bending; introduction to buckling and instability.

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Further unit of study information


Lecture 3 hrs/week; Tutorial 2 hrs/week; Laboratory 2 hrs/week.


Through semester assessment (50%) Final Exam (50%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge


From ENGG1802 Engineering Mechanics, students should be competent in the following areas. 1. The concept of force and momentum equilibrium in two and three dimensions. 2. Drawing free body diagrams. 3. Establishing and solving the equations of equilibrium from the FBD. 4. Setting out solutions logically, clearly and neatly. Students should be competent incertain mathematical skills. 1. Solving algebraic equations. 2. Differentiation and integration (including double integrals). 3. Drawing graphs of polynomials (especially) and other mathematical function. 4. Trigonometry.



Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.