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Book Review: Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics by Tadmor, Miller and Elliott

Pradeep Sharma's picture

Since my student days, I have lamented the lack of good books on Continuum Mechanics. "Good" being strictly defined from my narrow subjective viewpoint. A few years ago, I discovered (much to my chagrin) several deficiencies in my own understanding of the subject matter----especially on the relation of thermodynamics and continuum mechanics. Since then, I have kept a close eye on new books related to this topic. Zhigang had posted , not too long ago, a short review on the book released by Gurtin, Fried and Anand. I have thumbed through that over the last couple of years and found it to be quite nice----as I had remarked earlier; it is rigorous without overdoing it.

I am very happy to report that I have now another favorite----the book by Ellad Tadmor, Ron Miller and Ryan Elliott: Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics . I find it quite impressive that despite writing about such an old subject, these authors were able to present it with a very distinct personal style and perspective. The book is written in a very contemporary style and is full of well-thought out (solved) examples. I found it very enjoyable to read. Nearly every other page has footnotes which are in turns quirky, humorous or just plain factual but always informative and add an exceptional value to the text.

I haven't finished the entire book and that may have to wait until I use this as a text in a class. My favorite part was the clear treatment of thermodynamics. I cannot say that I now fully understand "thermodynamics in continuum mechanics" but I am in better shape than I was a few days ago. I also liked Tadmor et. al's write-up on stability and, along with the topic of energy principles, would like to see even more on those in the next edition. Run-of-the-mill books stay away from controversies. The authors are bold this way. They highlight the controversy that played out in the literature on the "principle of material frame-indifference" and provide their own perspective as well.

This book is a companion to another (simultaneously released) book on "Materials Modeling " (by Tadmor and Miller). I have bought a copy of that too although I have not had a chance to go through it beyond flipping through the pages. This book focuses on atomistic modeling of materials and I am looking forward to test-driving it in the next several weeks!

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