User login


You are here

New (Free!) Solid Mechanics Textbook

I have posted an advanced solid mechanics textbook on

It works on Internet Explorer, but may not work on all browsers. Topics include: mathematical descriptions of deformation and forces in solids; constitutive laws; analytical techniques and solutions to linear elastic and elastic-plastic boundary value problems; the use and implementation of FEA; fracture mechanics; and the theory of deformable rods, plates and shells.

Over 400 practice problems are provided, as well as demonstration finite element codes in MAPLE and (soon) MATLAB.

The text is intended for advanced undergraduate or graduate students, as well as practicing engineers and scientists.  It will be particularly useful to readers who wish to learn enough about solid mechanics to impress their teachers, colleagues, research advisors, or managers, but who would prefer not to study the subject in depth.

A printed version will be made available once I have been able to eradicate some of the many errors that persist in the text, despite my best efforts.


What  a great book! It comes from several core solid mechanics courses tought at Brown University for more than 15 years. The more I read the book, the more grateful I am.



i'm a graduate major in engineering mechanics, i've studied elastic and plastic mechanics. while i don't think that i have a good understanding of this discipline and maybe "this great "book will help me a lot. and this is my e-mail, could you sent me a copy? thank u very much!

Konstantin Volokh's picture

This is an encyclopedic textbook covering the most of the modern solid mechanics. It presents the famous Brown University tradition at its best: thorough yet comprehendible. It is a must read for grad students looking for earning their living with the help of solid mechanics.

It would be great to print this book too! My only concern is word “applied” in the title. What for?  

Allan Bower

Thank you for your kind remarks.

I confess that the title is mostly a shameless attempt at visibility...  All the obvious titles in solid mechanics are taken - a Google search for `applied mechanics of solids' turned up nothing, however.   And of course it is always good to have a title start with A (although Advanced Mechanics of Solids will still come out on top...).  Perhaps I should have gone with Abysmal solid mechanics?

One of the huge benefits of web publishing is that you can change anything easily - so if people want to vote for a better title I would be happy to consider suggestions!


Konstantin Volokh's picture

Dear Allan,

 Well, may be "Basic solid mechanics". To start with "B" is still good...


Respected Sir,

I feel to read your book, please help, i am unable to get it from .

thank you,


Temesgen Markos's picture

Thumbs up for a great contribution. 




I am Temesgen and I approve this message!

Dear prof. A. Bower 

It is really great to put the book in a specific website.

I have been reading the text EN 175 and other course notes by prof. Bower for some time. According to above comments and my opinion, the text is not only "Basic" but also  many "practice problems", moreover the text is "encyclopedic textbook", the name of book would be: "Solid Mechanics: Comprehensive Theory and Applications" or inverse order " Comprehensive Theory and Applications of Solid Mechanics", start with "C"  is also good !! 



Ha Manh 


 Thanks for the suggestions - those are all good ideas.  Actually I suppose we could code it so you can enter your own choice of title!

Dear Allan,

Good that you have decided to be a member at iMechanica. If you browse the Lecture Notes node here (, you would find that your wonderful notes had already arrived here before you did.

The only thing that I had "against" those notes (EN 175/222/224) was that I could neither save them to a local drive nor print them to a .PRN file without getting some material cut off at page bottom. (I was trying the .PRN route to a .PDF file).

Those same notes now seem to have grown up into this book. They also have become so comprehensive. Yet, the thing "against" them still continues...

The question is: Why? You anyway have a free distribution, right on the 'net. So, it can't be money. If so, what is the actual reason?

Another thing. Personally, I would have loved to have these notes/book in the TeX format. I do not necessarily mean for free. I mean, you could sell a CD or an Internet subscription or so (say, like a shareware or through PayPal), but with a TeX formatted text---that would have made it easier for the user to import the equations. It would have provided a real convenience...

Anyway, congratulations for compiling so much of material about SM so well! Also, warm welcome to iMechanica. (I am not a manager or a moderator here, but just an older-timer). And, also, best wishes to you for... what else... publicity!! (You asked for it, didn't you? :) )

Allan Bower

 Thanks Ajit.  I am happy to try to make a contribution of sorts to imechanica.  Of course I have been reading it for some time and very much admire what you and your colleagues have done for the community.

 I am sorry about your difficulties with printing.  I am aware of this problem, and have tried various things to fix it, but web authoring tools do not have an easy way to control how a page looks when it is printed.  You are right that there are some reasons why making the site easy to print has not been a high priority.

I personally find that I almost never read print any more, (unless I have to read an old paper or book that is not available in any other format), which is why I chose the web as the primary format. 

I could perhaps post pdf files of everything, but am hesitant to do so for a few (perhaps not good) reasons

  1. My department gets a bit unhappy if 30 students in a class print 700 color pages at $1 per page!
  2. Until recently pdfwriter would insert random weird bits of the screen into many of the figures when creating the pdf - the latest version seems to have fixed that, however
  3. pdf or prn is very easy for people to copy and edit.  I have run into cases where people have downloaded something from one of our web sites, gone to the trouble of stripping off all references to Brown, and circulated it to students as their own work.  Perhaps I am more upset by this kind of thing than I should be, but if there is anything I can do to make it more difficult, I will do so.

I hope to perhaps help people who really hate reading electronic pages by arranging to print copies of the text. These can be properly formatted, with an index, etc. Preliminary searches suggest that a print-on-demand publisher can make a B&W copy available for less than $30 (color is more difficult/expensive but I am still looking).  If anyone has experience with this kind of thing or recommendations for a print service I would be interested to hear from them.  I would also be interested to know if people would really want a printed & bound version, and if so, whether they care about color-v-B&W, as this will help to decide whether it is worth doing.

   Your suggestion of a TeX version is interesting - it never occurred to me that anyone would want tex versions of the equations.  Perhaps we should just do a CD containing `famous equations in solid mechanics' that people could copy...  Unfortunately there is no easy way to convert my files to Tex - although the equations can be saved in TeX format, every one would have to be individually opened and saved - so it is unlikely that I will be the one to make this CD but it is an interesting thought.


Dear Prof. Bower,

personally, I would love to get a pdf file(s) and read it offline or print it. It's not that people hate reading from the screen  - some commute by train and have time to read there (like myself), some just can't read from screen without getting a headache and  others may still have a slow or an expensive internet connection especially in non western countries. There could be many other reasons.

As for your concerns about editing, I think some pdf authoring software allows locking the file against modifications. Another possibility is to convert it to DjVu format, which is more efficient than pdf for both viewing and storage ( ).

Anyway, many thanks for this great initiative.



Victor Salit, M.Sc.
Division of solid Mechanics

Department of Civil Engineering &

Technical University Darmstadt

Hochschulstrasse 1
64289    Darmstadt    Germany
Tel: +49(0)6151164950
Fax: +49(0)6151163018


Yanfei Gao's picture


 Great job!

 Why don't we call it Bower's Solid Mechanics book, starting with a "B". Or Allan's Solid Mechanics book, with an "A".

Zhigang Suo's picture

Allen Bower's Mechanics it is:  a link is now added to the right side of iMechanica, under the section "What we talked about".  Heartiest congratulations to Allen for putting a wonderful book together, in a form that is extensible and free for all. 

The book will surely evolve to a lasting institution by itself.  Allen is young and passionate about telling a great story of a worthy subject.   The words "applied", "solid" and even "textbook" may all prove to be too restrictive.  What is significant is that Allen Bower is teaching Mechanics.  We will watch a great project unfold in coming decades.


   Dear Zhigang and Yanfei - It is an honor to be considered for imechanica immortality - but maybe something like `free solid mechanics textbook' would be more helpful for a new imechanica reader?  I dont think Allan Bower is very interesting to anyone except Allan Bower - but perhaps students joining imechanica might be interested in a free, if somewhat error-prone, textbook.  And mechanics is best named after people like Newton, Lagrange and Hamilton...

Zhigang Suo's picture

Dear Allen:  Per your suggestion, the link on the right side of iMechanica has been changed to "Free solid mechanics textbook".

A great book!

jstello's picture

I am so gald that people all over the world are reading Allan´s extraordinary book. I had the privilege and pleasure of being his graduate student for 3 years. I think readers will find the book extremely useful, especially it´s search capabilities. I seriously encourage everyone interested in solid mechanics to familiarize themselves with this wonderful resourse and to explore the different fem codes he kindly made available. Allan has made an invaluable contribution to this fascinating field without seeking monetary rewards and we should all be greatful for that.

Respected Sir,

I feel to read your book, please help, i am unable to get it from .

thank you,

Nithesh P

sir please upload the link for a pdf file


thank you

Nithesh P

This book is what i looked for and never found. As an engineer it is quite useful for fundamentals and as well as applications. Great work!

It is a great book!

xukyle's picture

It's a great book and great job!  thanks

Thanks sir for sharing this great book

Subscribe to Comments for "New (Free!) Solid Mechanics Textbook"

Recent comments

More comments


Subscribe to Syndicate