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ZUG1030 - Mechanics: The Interaction of Forces

Undergraduate – Module

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this module is offered.


Business, Engineering and Technology


South Africa
On-campus block of classes

  • Semester 2, 2018
    (Mainstream & Extended Programme)

12 credits, NQF Level 5


This module provides the students with analytical skills with regard to determining forces and stresses that exist in structures and machines. The module put an emphasis on static equilibrium of rigid bodies and fixed structures such as trusses and beams. It uses fundamental mathematics to formulate and solve equilibrium related problems.

The equilibrium aspect is being determined by using free body diagrams to simplify the system and subsequently applying appropriate boundary conditions. The end result of this analysis is the free body diagrams that are accurately presented with an objective of demonstrating logical approach to problem solving in engineering.


On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to:

1Determine normal reaction and friction forces
2Perform equilibrium calculations of particle and rigid bodies in various dimensions
3Draw free body diagrams
4Understand the principle of moments
5Comprehend compound systems and their application
6Determine forces in trusses
7Perform calculations on bending moments and shear forces in determinate beams
8Use appropriate methods to determine moments of inertia
9Understand the parallel axis theorem and its application


Coursework assessment: 30%
Examination: 70%

Workload requirements

The primary objective of the module is to equip the students with the ability to determine various configurations of internal and external forces, and the manner in which these forces interact with each other to create a system of equilibrium. In this way the students will have the ability to take a more logical and systematic approach to performing essential calculations for systems in equilibrium. There will be a combination of lectures, that will include interactive elements, and tutorial work that will be done on an individual basis. All outcomes will be assessed by means of tutorials, class tests and a final examination.

Chief examiner(s)





Basic Mathematical Concepts, Basic Concepts in Physics


Advanced Mathematical Concepts