Solid Mechanics Area Examination

The solid mechanics area examination is a two-hour, closed-book, written examination. The purpose of the exam is to determine whether Ph.D. students who desire to conduct their studies in the solid mechanics area, have sufficient knowledge of the area’s fundamental principles.

The exam is based on the content of introductory courses in “Statics” and “Mechanics of Materials”, ME 270 and ME 323 at Purdue University, or their equivalents. The examination will consist of six problems from this topic areas. Student must select and attempt four of the six problems provided. Partial credit is given for work on each of the four problems, and a passing grade is 70%.

For reference purposes, areas of technical emphasis are delineated below:

  • Computing Internal Resultants, Stresses, Deformations, Strains in Statically Determinate and Indeterminate Structures
    • Free-Body Diagrams
    • Generalized Hooke’s Law
    • Trusses
    • Axial Loads
    • Thermal Loads
    • Torsional Loads
    • Bending and Transverse Shear Loads in Beams
      • Shear-Moment Diagrams
      • Deflections by Direct-Integration and Superposition Methods
    • Combined Loads
    • Thin-Walled Pressure Vessels
  • Stress and Strain Transformation
    • Transformation of States of Plane Stress
    • Principal Stresses and Principal Directions
    • Maximum In-plane and Absolute Maximum Shear Stresses
    • Mohr’s Circle of States of Plane Stress
  • Buckling of Elastic Columns
  • Energy Methods
    • Work
    • Strain Energy
    • Castigliano’s Theorem
  • Static Failure Prediction
    • Brittle Failure
    • Ductile Failure

Calculators as approved by the School of Mechanical Engineering may be used during the examination. The calculator policy can be found at:

A limited formula sheet will be provided by the ME Graduate Office together with examples of exam problems. This equation sheet is then also available with the actual exam and that version must be used during the exam.

Prepared by the Solid Mechanics Area, June 2021. This guideline supersedes all prior versions.

Select References

[1] R.R. Craig. Mechanics of Materials, Wiley, Third Edition, 2011.

[2] F. P. Beer, E. R. Johnson, and J. T. DeWolf. Mechanics of Materials. Third Edition. 2002.

[3] J. M. Gere. Mechanics of Materials. Fifth Edition. 2001.

[4] R. C. Hibbeler. Mechanics of Materials. Fifth Edition. 2003.