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Mechanics for Applied Science

Course Code: PHYS 1170
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Physics
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

This course is intended for students proceeding to studies in Applied Science or Engineering. Topics include statics of particles, rigid body forces and equilibrium, structural analysis, internal forces, friction, particle kinematics and dynamics, systems of particles.

Course Content


  1. Force Vectors
    • Vectors
    • Vector components
    • Cartesian unit vectors
    • Vector addition and subtraction
    • Position vectors
    • Force vector along a line
    • Dot Product
  2. Particle Equilbrium
    • Condition for particle equilibrium 
    • Free-body diagram
    • Two and three dimensional force systems
  3. Force System Resultants 
    • Moment of a force 
    • Cross product 
    • Principle of moments 
    • Moment about an axis 
    • Moment of a couple
    • Equivalent system
    • Resultants of a force and couple system
  4. Equilibrium of Rigid Bodies
    • Conditions for rigid body equilibrium 
    • Equilibrium in two dimensions
    • Equilibrium in three dimensions
    • Constraints for a rigid body
  5. Structural Analysis
    • Simple Trusses
    • The Method of Joints
    • Zero-force members
    • The Method of Sections
    • Space Trusses
    • Frames and Machines
  6. Internal Forces
    • Internal Loadings Developed in Structural Members
    • Shear and Moment Equations and Diagrams
    • Relations between Distributed Load, Shear, and Moment
    • Cables
  7. Friction
    • Characteristics of dry friction
    • Coefficients of friction
    • Angles of friction
    • Problems involving dry friction
    • Wedges
    • Frictional forces on screws, belts and bearings
  8. Particle Kinematics
    • Position, velocity, acceleration
    • Rectilinear motion
    • Curvilinear motion
    • Normal and tangential components
    • Cylindrical components
    • Relative motion
  9. Particle Dynamics
    • Force and acceleration
    • Newton’s three laws of motion
    • Law of gravitation
    • Application of equations of motion in rectangular coordinates,  normal and tangential coordinates, cylindrical coordinates
  10. Work and Energy
    • Work done by constant and variable forces
    • Principle of work and energy/kinetic energy
    • Power and efficiency
    • Conservative forces and potential energy
  11. Impulse and Momentum
    • Principle of linear impulse
    • Principle for a system of particles
    • Conservation of momentum
    • Impact/collisions

Methods of Instruction

Class time is devoted to lectures and problem solving.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be based on the following:

Assignments            10-20%

Project                     10-20%

Tests                       30-50%

     A minimum of two tests will be adminstered during the semester. 

Final Exam               30-40%

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course the student will be able to:

  1. analyze two and three dimension concurrent force systems acting upon particles in equilibrium
  2. analyze the equilibrium of rigid bodies in two and three dimensions and determine equivalent systems of forces
  3. analyze structures and their internal forces
  4. apply the concepts of friction to practical problems
  5. analyze motion of particles and particle-like objects and systems using displacement, velocity, acceleration, force, Newton’s second law, energy, momentum, conservation principles.

course prerequisites

B.C. Physics 12 (C or higher) or PHYS 1107


MATH 1120 must precede or be taken concurrently

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.