Undergraduate course

Classical and Computational Mechanics

Teaching semester

Will be taught autumn 2016, but from spring 2017 MAT251 will only be taught every second spring, even-numbered years

Objectives and Content

The course gives an introduction to analytical mechanics, variational principles, dynamics in accelerated coordinate systems and conservation laws.

Particular attention is paid to variational calculus, rigid bodies, dynamics for bodies subject to central forces, accelerated coordinate systems, forced and damped oscillations, nonlinear dynamics and canonical transformations to find conservation laws. The course includes also a brief introduction to discrete Lagrangian variations  and Hamiltonian (symplectic) numerical methods for differential equations.

The course lays the basis for further specialisation in mechanics and dynamical systems.

Learning Outcomes

After completion of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Explain elementary principles of analytical mechanics, like generalised coordinates, virtual work and variational principle.
  • Use variational calculus on simple problems with constraints.
  • Use the Lagrange and Hamilton formalism to find the motion equations for simple mechanical systems.
  • Describe¬† different types of trajectories for a particle in a central force field, using energy arguments.
  • Define the Inertia tensor and derive the motion equations for rigid bodies.
  • Describe how to use the Legendre transformation to transform between Lagrangian¬† and Hamiltonian description of mechanics.
  • Identify cyclic variables and derive conservation laws for simple Hamiltonian systems using canonical transformations.
  • Have a basic knowledge of discrete variations and symplectic numerical methods

Recommended Previous Knowledge

MAT131, MAT212, PHYS111

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance


Forms of Assessment

Written examination: 5 hours

Available aids: None

Examination only in the fall (from 2017: examination only in the spring when the course is taught).

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam. The exam location will be published 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Written examination

    06.06.2018, 09:00
    5 hours
    Withdrawal deadline