1 Introduction to Engineering Mechanics
Mechanics can be defined as that science which describes and predicts the conditions of rest or motion of bodies under the action of forces.
Classification of mechanics: -
It is divided into three parts: mechanics of rigid bodies, mechanics of deformable bodies, and mechanics of fluids. The mechanics of rigid bodies is subdivided into statics and dynamics, the former dealing with bodies at rest, the latter with bodies in motion. In this part of the study of mechanics, bodies are assumed to be perfectly rigid. Actual structures and machines, however, are never absolutely rigid and deform under the loads to which they are subjected. But these deformations are usually small and may not affect the conditions of equilibrium or motion of the structure under consideration. They are important, though, as far as the resistance of the structure to failure is concerned and are studied in mechanics of materials, which is a part of the mechanics of deformable bodies. The third division of mechanics, the mechanics of fluids, is subdivided into the study of incompressible fluids and of compressible fluids. An important subdivision of the study of incompressible fluids is hydraulics, which deals with problems involving water. Mechanics is a physical science, since it deals with the study of physical phenomena. However, some associate mechanics with mathematics, while many consider it as an engineering subject. Both these views are justified in part. Mechanics is the foundation of most engineering sciences and is an indispensable prerequisite to their study. However, it does not have the empiricism found in some engineering sciences, i.e., it does not rely on experience or observation alone; by its rigor and the emphasis it places on deductive reasoning it resembles mathematics. But, again, it is not an abstract or even a pure science; mechanics is an applied science. The purpose of mechanics is to explain and predict physical phenomena and thus to lay the foundations for engineering applications.