Screenshot of an activity on forces.

Engineering Statics[Enter Course]


Statics is the study of methods for quantifying the forces between bodies. Forces are responsible for maintaining balance and causing motion of bodies, or changes in their shape. You encounter a great number and variety of examples of forces every day, such as when you press a button, turn a doorknob, or run your hands through your hair. Motion and changes in shape are critical to the functionality of man-made objects as well as objects the nature.

Statics is an essential prerequisite for many branches of engineering, such as mechanical, civil, aeronautical, and bioengineering, which address the various consequences of forces.

This course contains many interactive elements, including: simulations; “walk-throughs” that integrate voice and graphics to explain a procedure or a difficult concept; and, most prominently, computer tutors in which students practice problem solving with hints and feedback.

This course uses algebra and trigonometry and is suitable for use with either calculus- or non-calculus-based academic statics courses. Completion of a beginning physics course is helpful for success in statics, but not required. Many key physics concepts are included in this course.

Additional Course Details

Topics Covered:
Forces; Free Body Diagrams; Equilibrium of Simple Objects; and Machines and Structures Joined by Engineering Connections, Trusses, Friction, and Moments of Inertia.
Estimated Time to Complete Course:
Approximately 3 hours per module for a total of approximately 60 hours.
Additional Software or Materials Required:
You will need to have Flash, Java, and MathML installed. These programs are free. More detailed information is provided in the course under “Test and Configure Your System.”
Maintenance Fee (per student):
Free for both independent learners and academic students.
Course Last Updated Date:
January 2012
Changes in This Update Include:
New module 15: Annotated Practice Problems – Machines.
Maintenance Fee (per student):
Free to both independent learners and academic students.

In-Depth Description

OLI Engineering Statics covers the essential topics contained in most Statics textbooks (except it does not currently have 3-D statics or shear force and bending moment diagrams in beams). By module 12 (out of 20), the course has covered equilibrium of bodies with engineering connections (pin joints, rollers, etc.) that require a single free body diagram. However, the sequence of topics in modules 1 – 12 departs slightly from textbooks and reflects the authors’ teaching strategy of statics.

Unit 1 (Modules 1 – 5)
Forces, free body diagrams, moment due to a force, and then equilibrium for bodies loaded with simple concentrated forces (no couples, distributed loads, or engineering connections).The authors believe a first exposure to equilibrium with attention to free body diagrams and the summation of forces and moments is valuable before introducing the couple, static equivalence, and engineering connections. In any event, we think the couple and static equivalence are far easier to understand if the concept of equilibrium is handled first.

Unit 2 (Modules 6 – 9)
Couples (torques), distributed loads, static equivalence and modeling of engineering connections.
Unit 3 (Modules 10 – 12)
Equilibrium of bodies with engineering connections (separated into free body diagrams, equilibrium conditions, and strategies for choosing subsystems to isolate).

The remaining units cover frames and machines, trusses, friction, and moments of inertia.

Throughout the course, to promote conceptual understanding and problem solving skills, the course contains many interactive elements. These include: simulations; some with adjustable parameters controlled by the student to help visualize concepts; “walk-throughs” that integrate voice and graphics to explain an example of the procedure or a difficult concept; and, most prominently, computer tutors in which students practice problem solving, with hints and feedback.

The course is built around a series of carefully devised learning objectives that are independently assessed. Most of the interactive tutors are tagged by learning objective and skill, and so student work is tracked by the system and reported to the instructor via the Learning Dashboard. This data on student activity gives the instructor insight into mastery of learning objectives and skills, both for the class as a whole and for individual students.