Continuum Mechanics in Engineering Mechanics

The Chair for Continuum Mechanics develops methods for the continuum mechanical modeling and simulation of the materials behavior of applied materials with consideration of the microstructure and special deformation mechanisms. Methodical emphasis is given to the mathematical modeling within the framework of linear and non-linear continuum mechanics, the application of methods of homogenization, numerical methods (e.g., FEM), and model identification based on experiments.

Research Emphases

  • FE-based multiscale methods
  • Homogenization of elastic, brittle-elastic, visco-plastic and visco-elastic material properties
  • Mathematical description of microstructures
  • Localization and failure mechanisms

Studies and Lectures

The teachings of Continuum Mechanics emphasize on basic lectures in Engineering Mechanics I / II as well as on distinct compulsory optional courses and elective courses in the bachelor and master studies. The courses in Engineering Mechanics I / II provide the necessary basic knowledge for modern continuum mechanics and discuss approximation methods in mechanics. During the collateral lab course, the students use actual mathematical software for the dimensioning of components.

The theoretically, respectively numerically oriented lectures of the major focus on actual methods in the research areas of the theories of elasticity and plasticity as well as on micromechanics and numerical mechanics. We, additionally, offer an experimental laboratory course covering basic experiments with modern composites as well as a variety of bachelor and master thesis, many of which with industrial cooperations.

We offer the following lectures:‎

Winter Term

  • Technische Mechanik I
  • Engineering Mechanics I
  • Advanced course of strength of materials (with computational exercises)
  • Continuum mechanics in solids and fluids (since winter term 2019)
    (together with Prof. B. Frohnapfel)
  • Mathematical methods in strength of materials
  • Mathematical methods in continnum mechanics (since winter term 2019)
  • Characterization and modeling of microstructure
  • Computational Mechanics I (with computational exercises)
  • Computational homogenization on digital image data
  • Simulation in the product development process
  • Process simulation in material forming
  • Research seminar on continuum mechanics and homogenization methods

Sommer Term

  • Technische Mechanik II
  • Engineering Mechanics II
  • Workshop within the frame of the lecture 'working methods in mechanical engineering"
  • Introduction to the finite element method (with computational exercises)
  • Mathematical methods in structural mechanics
  • Computational Mechanics II (with computational exercises)
  • Nonlinear Continuum Mechanics
  • Digital microstructure chacterization and modeling
  • Experimental methods of mechanics (practical course)
  • Research seminar on continuum mechanics and homogenization methods

The Bachelor-Studies focus on

  • Strength of materials and continuum mechanics

The Master-Studies focus on

  • Mechanics and applied mathematics
  • Theoretical and experimental mechanics


Research Objectives

  • Mechanical and thermomechanical characterization of metallic materials
  • Mechanical and thermoviscoelastic characterization of polymer materials (pure and fiber reinforced composites)
  • Characterization of anisotropic material behavior under multiaxial load
  • Development and validation of numerically efficient multiscale and homogenization methods


Special measurement techniques

- Drying and heating chamber (Binder)
- High-precision weighing device (Kern)
- Desiccator (Sicco)
- Optical strain measurement by means of DIC (Aramis 3D 4M (GOM)) (biaxial testing device),
(2D excellent, in the third direction inaccurate, since not distinguishable with respect to rigid body motion)

Testing possibilities

  • Electromechanical biaxial testing device with 4 separately controlled testing axes (Zwick)

Maximal force

150 kN

Traverse speed

0,0005 bis 900 mm/min

Maximum measuring distance of each axis

700 mm


  • Integral optical strain measurement by means of VideoExtens (Zwick)
  • Lokal optical strain measurement by means of DIC (ARAMIS 3D 4M (GOM)‎)


                                                                                                                             Electromechanical biaxial testing device

Analyzed materials:
Sheet Moulding Compounds (SMC), metallic materials (e.g., dual-phase steel)

  • Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMA), EPLEXOR® 500 N (GABO)

Temperature range

-150°C bis 500°C

Strain frequency domain

0,01 bis 100 Hz‎

Maximal static load

1500 N

Maximal dynamic load

500 N

Load cell capacities

150 N, 500 N, 1500 N

Measuring type

  • Dynamic mechanical test under tension load (for different temperatures and frequencies, superposition of temperature and frequency loads)
  • Dynamic mechanical bending tests
  • Static tension load (Universal Tester)
  • Relaxation and retardation tests


                                                                                                                        Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMA)

Analyzed materials:
Polyamid, Polypropylen, Vinylester, unsaturated Polyester-Polyurethan Hybrid Resin (each as pure matrix material and fiber reinforced)

  • Dilatometer, DIL 402 Expedis® Select (Netzsch)

Temperature range

-180°C bis 1600°C

Measuring range

20 mm (± 10000 μm)


1 nm

Force range

10 mN bis 3 N



Analyzed materials:
Sheet Molding Compounds (SMC)

  • Laserflash, LFA 467 HyperFlash® (Netzsch)

Temperature range

-100°C bis 500°C

Temperature conductivity

0,01 mm2/s bis 2000 mm2/s

Heat conductivity

0,1 W/(mK) bis 4000 W/(mK)



Analyzed materials:
Sheet Molding Compounds (SMC)


  • Local Computer network linked to vector processors and parallel computers as well as computer clusters of the Scientific Computing Center (SSCK) of  KIT – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - within the frame of the Supercomputer Competence Center Baden-Württemberg (hkz-bw)


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Service, cooperation and further training


  • Consultation regarding problems of computational mechanics, micromechanics and material modeling
  • Cooperation: International cooperations with industry and research institutes
  • Seminars on methods of homogenization and micromechanics

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