Mechanics of Materials I


This curricular unit intends to give the student a set of theoretical and practical knowledge needed for the mechanical characterization of materials, whose structure and processing techniques are the subjects of other curricular units. In the end, the student should be able:

- to perform the mechanical characterization of a given material, correctly interpreting the results obtained;

- to correctly interpret the obtained results from the mechanical characterization of a given material;

- to evaluate the quality, from a mechanical behaviour’s standpoint, of a material received from a supplier or a transformed material to dispatch to a customer;

- to correctly interpret any deviations in the mechanical properties of a material, in correlation with its nature and the processing methods used for its transformation;

- to suggest any changes in the processing methods, aimed at improving the product materials and optimizing costs.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Alexandre José da Costa Velhinho


Weekly - 5

Total - 84

Teaching language





George E. Dieter, “Mechanical Metallurgy”, McGraw-Hill-International Student Editions, 1982

M. F. Ashby & D. R. H. Jones, “Engineering Materials, An Introduction to their Properties and Applications”, Int. Series on Mater. Sci. & Technol., vol. 34, Pergamon Press, 1980

Teaching method

Two types of lessons will be considered: Lectures and laboratory. Lectures will be given using PowerPoint slides, students having access to copies on the course page in the Moodle platform. The laboratory work will be performed by the students under the guidance of the teacher and focus on the different topics of the syllabus.

Teaching has theoretical and experimental components that will allow students to acquire and apply knowledge to determine the mechanical behaviour of rigid materials. In lectures, the subjects will be presented and explained, which will allow the consolidation of knowledge that will later be put into practice in labs. Thus, lectures and laboratory classes complement each other in order to provide an integrated learning. Lab works assume an important role in the evaluation of the curricular unit as it is through these that students acquire skills that will allow them to master the possible application of materials in the construction of structural components.

Throughout the semester, a constant demand will be placed on knowledge previously acquired (Physics I, Physical Metallurgy and Metallography), and special care will be taken in order to establish firm bridges to subsequent curricular units (Mechanics of Materials II, Metallic Materials Forming Technologies, Thermal Treatments and Mechanical Treatments, Composites – Materials and Applications, Materials Selection).

Evaluation method

Two tests, lab reports, final exam.


Participation in lab sessions is mandatory, and must be accompanied by the submission of reports, in order to obtain frequency of the curricular unit.

The tests are not obligatory, but should be undertaken to insure exemption from the final exam; a minimum average mark of 9.5 is required to insure exemption from the final exam. If this condition is not fulfilled, the student must submit to the final exam.

The final grade (NF) is obtained as:

NF = 0.30* T1 + 0.30 + T2 + 0.40* P (for the case of exemption from the final exam) or;

NF = 0.60*NE + 0.40* P (for the case of participation in the final exam).

In the above, T1 and T2 are the grades attained in the mid-term tests, P is the average grade of the lab reports and NE stands for the grade in the final exam.

Subject matter

  • Overview of materials’ mechanical behaviour:
    • Definitions: stress, strain; engineering and true values;
    • Stress and strain states;
    • Normal and shear stresses; normal strains and distortions;
    • Stress and strain tensors.
  • Elasticity theory:
    • Hooke’s law for uniaxial states;
    • Generalized Hooke’s law;
    • Hooke’s law for specific cases: isotropic, cubic, transverse isotropic and orthotropic materials.
  • Plasticity:
    • Plastic deformation mechanisms:
      • Dislocation glide and twinning;
      • Temperature and strain rate effects: superplasticity;
    • Fracture:
      • Mechanisms;
      • Macro- and micrographic facies;
      • Fracture mechanics;
      • Fracture-resistant design;
    • Fatigue:
      • Notched and unnotched parts;
      • Basquin’s law;
      • Paris’ law;
      • Goodman’s law;
    • Creep:
      • Characteristic curves;
      • Mechanisms as affected by temperature and stress level;
      • Creep-resistant materials selection.


Programs where the course is taught: