Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions/week, 1 hour/session

Laboratory: 1 session for 10 consecutive weeks, 1.5 hours/session

General Information

Basic Physics of Structures is a basic subject in the degree in Technical Architecture. This course aims firstly to revisit areas of mechanics which may have been covered in pre-University Physics, and to build on this common base the principles of mechanics of solids on which many subsequent modules depend. This includes basic equilibrium, work and energy and the analysis of statically determinate frameworks, leading into a major section on the analysis of stress and strain in two and three dimensions, which includes material failure criteria. The architecture graduate should be able to use the relevant laws of kinematics and dynamics to solve problems of equilibrium of rigid bodies, trusses, and beams. What we do is show problematic situations (open problems relevant to the technical architecture student, both theoretical and practical situations) where we have to think about possible solutions doing research, and not necessarily requiring a numerical answer. This methodology facilitates the autonomy and responsibility of the students, the interactivity teacher-student and student-student, and shows the connection between physics and other areas of knowledge.

The material in this course is tightly interconnected, so it is very difficult to understand the contents of Chapter N if you are not comfortable with the ideas in Chapters 1 . . . N -1. For that reason, we want to do everything that we can to encourage you to stay on top of the subject, avoiding any gaps in your understanding.


We expect you to attend the lectures. The lectures will explain the concepts that you are expected to understand, and in addition there will be live demonstrations that are important to your understanding of the material. We also expect you to read the material we have prepared before the class.

Tutoring hours

Graduate student tutors will be available throughout the semester, and you are strongly encouraged to seek their help. Tutoring sessions will be on Mondays from 10:00 to 12:30 hours and on Thursdays from 10:00 to 11:30 hours. Initially they will be up to students, but we may switch to a sign-up system by the campus virtual if there is a problem with overcrowded sessions.


J. J. Rodes-Roca, A. Durá i J. Vera. Fonaments físics de les construccions arquitectòniques: Vectors lliscants, geometria de masses i estàtica. Publicacions de la Universitat d’Alacant (Alacant, 2011) (Catalan/Valencian)

A. Durá i J. Vera. Fundamentos físicos de las construcciones arquitectónicas: Vectores deslizantes, geometría de masas y estática. Publicaciones de la Universidad de Alicante (Alicante, 2003) (Spanish and a Catalan/Valencian version too)

When the material in the Study Guide and your notes are too concise for your taste, you can turn to the textbook, which provides more detailed derivations and explanations of the results and formulas. It also has more worked examples and problems, problem-solving hints, etc. Homework problems could be assigned from the textbook.

Problem Sets

Problem sets will be assigned about once a month. The exact schedule of hand-out dates and due dates is included on the Course Calendar, attached to this link. Normally, written homework will be delivered by hand in the classroom and it has to be finished in three or four weeks. All the homework scores will be included from the homework grade.

We believe that working out the problems on the homework is absolutely essential to learning the material of this course. Trying to learn physics without doing problems is like trying to learn how to ride a bicycle by reading a book. We strongly encourage students to get together in groups to discuss the homework, but of course the mere copying of solutions written by your friends will not help you learn physics. Solutions to each problem set will be made available immediately after they are due.



On two selected lecture periods (week 8 and week 14 or 15), 50-minutes quizzes will be given in a lecture session. The dates of the quizzes are shown on the course calendar.

Problem exams

Two lecture periods during the semester (week 8 and week 15) will be used for problem exams. Each exam will focus on all the material since the previous exam, and will include at least one problem that is at most a slight modification of a previously assigned homework problem.

Final Examination

The 3-hour final exam, which will cover the material from the entire course, will be held few days/weeks after the last lecture. The date is shown on the course calendar.


Quizzes = 20%

Problem exams = 15%

Laboratory reports = 15%

Final Exam = 50%

Academic Behaviour and Honesty

During quizzes and exams, exchange of information with others is unacceptable. So is the use of notes or other materials, unless explicitly authorized. You will be allowed to use scientific calculators. Anyone suspected of violating these guidelines will be charged with academic dishonesty and subject to UA’s disciplinary procedures. However, you are strongly encouraged to get together in groups to discuss the problem sets and the material presented in the course.

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