AMATH 361: Continuum Mechanics

Offered every winter term.

Brief description:

Many topics found on the science page of the weekend newspaper, from fusion reactors and the problems of space shuttle reentry into the atmosphere, to climate change on our own planet and the amazing properties of biological tissues have a common feature, the theory of continuum mechanics. Briefly stated, continuum mechanics is the mathematical study of all states of matter (gases, fluids, solids and plasmas) on a macroscopic scale; that is, on a scale in which the atomic structure of matter can be disregarded. AMATH 361 is a unique opportunity to learn about this fascinating field at the undergraduate level, leading to a variety of opportunities for employment in industry and research work in graduate school.

For further information and interesting images visit the Continuum and Fluids webpage here.


AMATH 231 (Calculus 4) and AMATH 271 (Intro to Theoretical Mechanics) or PHYS 263 (Classical Mechanics), or consent of the instructor.


AMATH 353 (PDEs 1).

Intended audience:

  • Students interested in fluid mechanics (AMATH 463).
  • Students interested in summer research or graduate school in Fluid Dynamics or Mathematical Medicine.
  • Mathematical Physics majors. Continuum mechanics - the mechanics of everyday life - fills the gap between quantum theory (very small scales) and Einstein's general relativity theory (very large scales)
  • Students in the Earth Science option, dealing with environmental issues such as climate change.
  • Students in AMATH/ENG (fluids and heat).
  • Students interested in computation. Many techniques for the numerical solution of partial differential equations (AMATH 442) have their roots in continuum mechanics.
  • Students interested in computer animation and the techniques behind special effects in movies.
  • Theoretically minded students interested in the applications of differential geometry (AMATH 333) and partial differential equations (AMATH 353).