You are here

What is computational mechanics

Computational Mechanics (CM) is concerned with the use of computational methods and devices to study events governed by the principles of mechanics. CM is a fundamentally important part of computational science and engineering, concerned with the use of computational approaches to characterize, predict and simulate physical events and engineering systems governed by the laws of mechanics.

Are you aware of the following applications of Computational Mechanics?

  • Crash worthiness of vehicles - The computer- generated simulation of the crash worthiness of automobiles with walls or obstacles, based on fundamental scientific principles of the dynamics of deformable bodies.
  • Predictive Surgery - The properties of living tissues (deduced from MRI imaging and other tests) can go directly into computer subroutines. Models are generated for analysis by surgical teams to assist in determining the best procedure for the patient under treatment. Many different surgical strategies can be simulated and the results predicted by computational mechanics software before a single step in the actual surgery is taken.
  • Military Applications - Computational mechanics has long been used in the analysis and design of weapons and armor. Phase changes of materials, ablations and spalling, shrapnel spraying, thermal effects, and flow are a few of the phenomena that can be analyzed using CM models and technology.
  • Prediction of Natural Physical Events or Phenomena - CM methods are used to study atmospheric changes, ocean currents, surface flow in rivers, subsurface flows in oil reservoirs, the simulation of a supernova or explosion of a star, or geological phenomena such as the movement and evolution of polar ice caps or the tectonic plates.

Computational Mechanics has had a profound impact on science and technology over the past three decades. CM has transformed much of classical Newtonian theory into practical tools for prediction and understanding of complex systems. These tools are used in the simulation and design of current and future advances in technology throughout the developed and developing world. There has been a pervasive impact on manufacturing, communication, transportation, medicine, defense and many other areas central to modern civilization.

Computational Mechanics incorporates new models of physical and biological systems based upon quantum, molecular and biological mechanics and has an enormous potential for future growth and applicability.

The success of CM will ultimately be judged by its effectiveness in solving real-world problems of interest to society and in providing deeper understanding of natural phenomena and engineering systems. The field has been enormously successful to date because of its unprecedented predictive powers (though computer modeling), making possible the simulation of complex physical events and the use of these simulations to design engineering systems.