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General outline of the field of Engineering Mechanics

Engineering mechanics is concerned with the description, analysis and optimization of the static and dynamic behavior of materials, products and processes in a variety of engineering applications. Solid mechanics is at the heart of engineering mechanics, but is not necessarily identical with it. Traditionally, engineering mechanics is one of the fundamental cores of engineering sciences such as Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Maritime Technology.

The advent of modern computers provided completely new challenges and perspectives for the engineering mechanics field. Contemporary developments of engineering mechanics include the following major directions:
  • Prediction of structural mechanical behavior from material mechanics and establishment of structure-property relations for engineering materials, including the ultimate failure of the material. The ultimate aim is to bridge the gap between science and technology in the area of materials processing and design, via computational modeling and experimental analysis of the full thermo-mechanical history of material (elements) during their formation, processing and final design, in order to be able to quantitatively predict product properties.
  • Prediction of the dynamic behavior of engineering systems with full account of nonlinearities. This area is of crucial importance in many practical dynamical systems where friction, contact and other nonlinearities have a substantial effect on the dynamic behavior.
  • Optimization of products, processes and systems by means of computer simulations to tailor their mechanical behavior for the particular application. Here, it is assumed that the simulation of the mechanical behavior can be carried out in a sufficiently accurate way, while the optimal design is traced numerically.
Among typical application areas, the following can be highlighted:
  • miniaturization & micro-technology: design, optimization, processing and functionality of MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems); processing, performance and reliability in SiP (systems in package); low-k solutions in IC-technology; lead-free soldering;
  • high-tech consumer applications: flexible displays; flexible photovoltaic cells; lab-on-a-chip systems; RF-MEMS mobile phone developments;
  • high-tech materials: metastable materials; shape memory alloys; TRIP-steels; GLARE; Ni-based superalloys; thermo-shock materials; high-temperature engine materials;
  • innovation and optimization in manufacturing: polymer-coated sheet processing in packaging; discrete die forming; damage engineering in metals; paperboard engineering;
  • construction engineering: collision-proof ship hulls; damage control in masonry and concrete structures,
As a consequence of the above developments, the traditional boundaries between solid and fluid mechanics are sometimes fading. This happens, for example, in the field of mechanics of materials and in the area of acoustic radiation of structures. In addition, the interactions with other areas of engineering sciences, such as materials technology, thermodynamics and systems and control, become of increasing importance. Finally, it is noted that the successful implementation of the above-mentioned developments in practical applications relies on prior experimental validation of the developed simulation tools and physical models. This requires an increasing interaction between computational modeling and experimental analysis.