Engineering Statics/Preface

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Engineering mechanics – statics and dynamics – form the basis for most of the branches of engineering. Many topics in such engineering disciplines as mechanical, civil, argicultural, and aerospace, are based upon the subject of engineering mechanics. A strong grasp of statics becomes the beginning of developing an engineering intuition. Thus, engineering mechanics is critical to the engineering curriculum. The study of statics will help solidify the student's understanding of applied mathematics and physics, as well as strengthen problem-solving skills.

Pre-requisites: Algebra, Geometry, General Mechanics Co-requisites: Calculus

Philosophy[edit]

The purpose of mechanics is to predict the effects of force and motion on a machine, a worthwhile study for an engineer faced with a design project. Mere knowledge of the physics and math is not enough: one must develop the ability to visualize physical systems with regard to physical constraints. Visualization of the problem is vital in order to reach a solution. Development of the mathematical model is more important than the solution itself. These skills can best be learned simultaneously in an engineering context.

The best way to learn this material is by developing the theory in order to solve problems. The boring antithesis is developing problems in order to illustrate theory. In the latter case, problems become idealized and therefore stray from the real-world applications that drive engineering. The former method is motivating to the student and therefore ideal for learning. Theory approximates the real-world - not vice versa. Mechanics relies heavily on geometric and physical perception. If your trigonometry skills are lacking, they are about to improve by necessity!

Pedagogical Features[edit]

Basic structure of book is a section which rigorously treats the subject matter, followed by example problems, then a set of related problems. There is a chapter review at the end with a review problem set.

Problems[edit]

Example problems are clearly labeled. These problems include explanatory notes, comments, & hints in order to aid in learning of the material. Introductory problems: simple, designed to help students gain confidence with the material. Representative problems: average difficult and length, then increasing in difficulty (marked with a symbol). Computer problems are at the end of the chapter. Solutions to some problems are at the end of the book.

SI and English units are used, like in the real world. All problems deal with principles and procedures used in design and analysis of structures and machines.

Illustrations[edit]

SVG format is best. Red arrows for forces and moments. Green arrows for velocity & acceleration arrows. Orange dashes for selected trajectories of moving parts. Subdued colors are used for parts of the illustration which are not important in solving the problem.

Solution Method and Formatting[edit]

  1. Given
  2. Find
  3. Free-body Diagram (FBD)
  4. Assumptions
  5. General Eqns (work with variables only)
  6. Solution (substitute numbers and solve)

The best paper for your handwritten work is engineering pad. This paper provides a light grid: light, so as not to obscure your writing; a grid for aiding in drawing. This paper can be bought at an office supply store, or college bookstore.

Organization[edit]

Chapter 1
fundamental concepts - math - needed for study of mechanics
Chapter 2
concepts & properties of forces, moments, couples and resultants are developed.
Next is the equilibrium of nonconcurrent force systems in preparation for Ch. 3.
2D and 3D problems are separate
Chapter 3
analysis of problems
Chapter 4
application of equilibrium principles to simple trusses, frames, and machines
Mostly in 2D, some 3D to reinforce vector math
Chapter 5
distribution of forces
Section A: centroids and mass centers (calculus)
Section B: special topics of beams, flexible cables, and fluid forces (something extra)
Chapter 6
Friction
Section A: dry friction
Section B: machine applications (something extra)
Chapter 7
Virtual work theory w/ 1 DOF systems
The energy method is a lot easier
interconnected systems & stability analysis
Appendices
Useful references for mathematical properties, etc.