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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Elements of Structures

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX

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2.01x introduces principles of structural analysis and strength of materials in applications to three essential types of elastic load-bearing elements: bars in axial loading, axisymmetric shafts in torsion, and symmetric beams in bending. The course covers fundamental concepts of continuum mechanics, including internal resultants, displacement field, stress, and strain.

While emphasizing analytical techniques, the course also provides an introduction to computing environments (MATLAB).

This is the first course in a 3-part series. In this series you will learn how mechanical engineers can use analytical methods and “back of the envelope” calculations to predict structural behavior. The three courses in the series are:

Part 1 – 2.01x: Elements of Structures. (Elastic response of Structural Elements: Bars, Shafts, Beams).

Part 2 – 2.02.1x Mechanics of Deformable Structures: Part 1. (Thermal Expansion, Plasticity, Viscoelasticity. Assemblages of Elastic, Elastic-Plastic, and Viscoelastic Bars). Next session starts February 2019.

Part 3 – 2.02.2x Mechanics of Deformable Structures: Part 2. (Assemblages of Elastic, Elastic-Plastic, and Viscoelastic Bars Shafts and Beams. Multi-axial Loading and Deformation. Pressure vessels. Energy Methods). Next session starts June 2019.

These courses are based on the first subject in solid mechanics for MIT Mechanical Engineering students. Join them and learn to rely on the notions of equilibrium, geometric compatibility, and constitutive material response to ensure that your structures will perform their specified mechanical function without failing.


Week 1: Introduction and Preliminaries
Introduction, Review of Forces and Moments, Review on Integration, Introduction to MATLAB.

Week 2: Axial loading I
Equilibrium in 1D. Free body diagrams. Internal force resultant. Normal stress and strain. Compatibility. Structural response for statically determinate bars in axial loading.

Week 3: Axial loading II
Response of inhomogeneous bars with varying cross section. Statically indeterminate problems.

Week 4: Quiz 1 (Axial Loading)

Week 5: Torsion I
Shear stress and strain. Internal torque resultant. Structural Response for statically determinate circular shafts in torsion.

Week 6: Torsion II
Response of inhomogeneous shafts with varying cross section. Statically indeterminate problems.

Week 7: Quiz 2 (Torsion)

Week 8: Bending I
Internal bending moment resultant. Curvature and neutral axis. Stress and strain distribution. Structural Response for statically determinate symmetric beams in bending.

Week 9: Bending II
Response of inhomogeneous beams with varying cross section. Statically indeterminate problems.

Week 10: Quiz 3 (Bending)

Taught by

Simona Socrate and Alexie M. Kolpak


4.8 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Elements of Structures

  • Anonymous
    Very good class for mechanical and structural engineers.
    Good lectures and problems, and also we learn to use MATLAB and do some Finite Element problems
  • Nuno Goncalves
    Is very well done and structured, is dificult because was many homeworks we must complete, in the overall i recomend for people that likes stuctures.
  • Piotr Dziuba

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