PHYS 215: Statics and Engineering Design


Starting on March 24 this course no longer meets on campus.  All material for this course is available via Moodle.

Catalog Description

Introduction to engineering design in the context of the basic mechanics of static structures and machines. Topics: multidimensional vector analysis of particles and rigid bodies in equilibrium, structural analysis of trusses and frames, friction, center of gravity, and moment of inertia. Introduction, by design project, to topics of technical drawing using CAD software, MATLAB and machine shop skills. Three lecture, three laboratory hours each week. Liberal Arts. This course has a fee. Prerequisite: PHYS 151.


There is probably no other science that is more important in engineering than mechanics, and no principle in mechanics is more important than equilibrium. Statics is the branch of engineering mechanics that focuses on equilibrium – the case where there is no acceleration and the total force and torque is zero. In this class you will become familiar with the application of equilibrium concepts to a wide variety of structures and machines. Moreover, in the laboratory you will learn how to apply the principles of engineering design, constrained by the laws of mechanics, to the design of a real structure – a balsa bridge.

Useful Information

Dr. Yuly
Office Hours
MTWRF 4:30-5:30 PM

Class Time    
MWF 1:40-2:30 AM

R 9:15-10:50 AM

Teaching          ,
Steven Raymond

Course Materials

Course Syllabus and Schedule
Sample Homework Problem
AutoCAD (student download)
Autodesk Inventor (student download)
OCTAVE download (free)
Visual Analysis (student download)


Problem Set #1
Problem Set #2
Problem Set #3
Problem Set #4
Problem Set #5
Problem Set #6
Problem Set # 7
Problem Set # 8
Problem Set # 9
Problem Set # 10

Laboratory Materials

Lab #1 —  AutoCAD 2D
LAB1 – AutoCAD tutorial
HO1 – “AutoCAD 2020 Tutorial First Level” chapter 1

Lab #2 — Autodesk Inventor
LAB2 – Autodesk Inventor tutorial
HO2 – “Learning Autodesk Inventor 2020” chapter 2

Lab #3 — Octave
LAB3 – Octave tutorial
HO3A – Octave Programming Tutorial/Getting started
HO3B – Octave Programming Tutorial/Vectors and matrices

Lab #4 — Trusses
LAB4 – Trusses
HO4A – A Gallery of Truss Bridges
HO4B – Build a Model of a Truss Bridge (p. 1-1 to 10)

Lab #5 — Build a Simple Truss
LAB5 – Build a Simple Truss

Lab #6 — Strength of Structural Members
LAB6 – Strength of Structural Members
HO6 – Testing the Strength of Structural Members(p. 2-1 to 9)

Lab #7 — Analysis of the Simple Truss
LAB7 – Octave analysis of simple truss

Lab #8 — Visual Analysis/Simulating the Simple Truss
LAB8 – Visual Analysis simulation of simple truss
HO8 – Visual Analysis Tutorial

Lab #9 — Bridge Design Project
LAB9 – Bridge Design Project

Lab #10 – Bridge Project Presentations
LAB10 – Presentation



Truss in space

A truss is a rigid structure that is made from members joined at their ends. Trusses can be very light, yet span large distances and support very heavy loads. This truss is being deployed from the space shuttle Atlantis as part of the Assembly Concept for Construction of Erectable Space Structures (ACCESS) device.


Landing Gear

The landing gear of an airplane is an example of a simple machine, which can be analyzed by using the principles of statics taught in this class.