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Are we going away from mechanics?

Hi all,
            Let me clarify first. The topic is not about is going away from mechanics or not.


      While we refer papers from say early 1900 to 1980's we can see a lot of fundamental developments, especially in mechanics.  In case of solid mechanics, from linear elastic solid mechanics to plasticity and non linear solid mechanics, Continuum mechanics , visco-elasticity, micro polar elasticity, finite deformation problems and a lot more .

     In the field of FEM (or computational mechanics) it was started in early 40's as matrix method and a lot of works were done in the evolutionary phase in sixties, seventies and even in eighties. A lot more about the stress updating, various non liner FEM algorithms to attack plasticity theories, mixed formulations etc were developed in 70s and 80s.

       In the area of fracture mechanics   major research started after the world war period. A lot of new concepts like CTOD, J integral were developed in 1960's and early 70's. A lot of notable theories about fatigue including theories of multi axial fatigue etc were proposed in the same period. 

   A good basic for the statistical thermodynamics were done much earlier  ( say boltsman , gibbs etc. 1900's) than the computational model for that ( say MD) is been developed/ implemented.  In case of Vibrations and related fields the analytical foundations for the chaos, random vibrations non linear vibrations etc. were formulated long back. The same is the case with furrier transforms (not about implementation in a computer) or control system theory. I think similar trends can be seen in any other field of mechanics.

      If we think about a real read worthy book in any fields mentioned above, all the bibles’ of the respective fields were written before a quarter century at least.  I am having a real concern. What exactly happening after say 1980 or 1990's.  Not even a single notable invention came out from these fields. Of course there might be a few exceptions, but how many?  A few results from the fields like MD , Multiscale modeling etc may be an exception, but still their role in the evolution of subject mechanics is highly questionable. In my humble opinion data generation or a   computational exercise cannot be considered as a invention or not even as a quality academic research. 

       Do we have to say that the academic research in mechanics is a dead? If so, we academicians will be forced to take the responsibility for killing the research in a field of study were a lot of innovative thoughts were present. Or am I making such a question just because of the ignorance in the field? 



 Thank you for your post,

I think one of the reasons may be the way of researching. By invention of computers the numerical methods grow dramatically and the analytical methods got ceased. Since mechanics is based on mathematics and the mathematics is stopped then mechanics is stopped.



tanmay-mandal's picture

Well, current research focus more on it's impact factor to society. The current boom in nanotechnology and bio engineering is a live example. And that's where you differentiate then and now. The foundations laid by Timoshenko and numerous other authors to solid mechanics is yet to be explored. For ex: Higher gradient theories were first explored in 2002 by Peddison, though they were published long before! And add to that, if we have a sound concept of basics, we may even come up with something more fundamental. There are numerous professors world-wide doing so. Note the volumes of papers published in computational and experimental mechanics and not on theoretical. Just because it's worth doing and will earn you a career. But that dosen't mean analytical is gone. U need to dive into and there's lot yet unexplored.

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