Solid Mechanics

Bristol's centre for materials engineering and structural integrity.

The Solid Mechanics Research Group has a successful history of using applied mechanics to help define and solve industrially-motivated problems. Based in the School of Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and part of the South-West Nuclear Hub, we have established close and productive partnerships with a range of companies in the energy, transport and manufacturing sectors. We have been, and continue to be, successful at winning a wide range of research funding and working collaboratively with other universities in joint research, teaching and training activities. 

We investigate the behaviour of materials and structures across multiple length scales, in both ‘normal’ and ‘aggressive’ environments. Our research covers a number of engineering topic areas including advanced structural integrity, joining and forming, residual stress measurement and fracture. We focus on experimental, simulation and modelling aspects of these areas. At Bristol we have access to a wide range of in-house experimental facilities; our group also has a successful track record of securing access to UK and international multi-user facilities such as beamlines.

We also have a powerful modelling capability, from developing constitutive models of complex inelastic behaviour, to simulation-based global optimisation, probabilistic modelling and High Performance Computing (HPC). We collaborate with top UK HPC centres such as EPCC and the Hartree centre. We have a strong track record of securing time on regional (Tier-2), national (Tier-1) and EU (Tier-0) levels HPC resources. Bristol-led collaborative multidisciplinary work spanning solid mechanics, materials science, numerical methods, computational mechanics, software engineering and HPC has led to significant progress in addressing challenges such as large scale inverse problems for discovery of mechanical behaviour of materials.





We study what makes things strong and what makes things fail: from sudden events like brittle fracture to the long-term creep of materials at high temperature. Our work allows engineers to design ever more reliable and efficient structures, and to predict the behaviour of existing ones.

The constant demand to ensure safety and fitness-for-purpose of critical components and industrial plant operating in ever more demanding conditions and environments, such as extended periods of service or elevated temperatures, drives the need for innovative, advanced and exciting mechanics solutions

Professor David Knowles, Head of Group
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