Materials are fundamental to all engineering applications. A significant number of established and emerging engineering applications, from the development of metal matrix composites to biotechnology, require a practical working knowledge of the mechanical properties of the materials involved if they are to be developed to their full potential.
These properties can be divided into categories, such as elastic and inelastic; classified by geometry, such as dimensionality; and modelled using modern mathematical techniques, such as finite element modelling. As a result, modern engineers invariably need to understand and apply these techniques of analysis to real materials at a relatively advanced level.
Intermediate Mechanics of Materials by Madhukar Vable describes non- foundation level mechanics of materials in a novel modular form, based on five areas of study (displacement, strains, stresses and internal and external forces and moments), which are linked via kinematic, constitutive, equivalence and equilibrium equations. An advantage of this approach is that, as the author points out, the key concepts and equations in each module can, theoretically, be evolved to various levels independently (that is, without having significant impact on other modules).
This method of presentation works to some degree, although the links between the various module topics are somewhat opaque and therefore not particularly accessible for non-specialist students of mechanics of materials.
Having said that, the book makes a credible attempt at bridging the gap between the present work and an introductory text by the same author by presenting three relatively comprehensive review chapters on stresses and strain, materials and their behaviour under applied loads, failure mechanisms and basic structural properties.
This is supplemented by an appended overview of the fundamentals of the static and mechanical properties of materials, which further serves as a useful summary of prerequisite knowledge for tackling this text (this appendix includes a particularly helpful do-it-yourself guide to the construction of Mohr's circle).
Some summary tables of properties treated at the lower level (for example, the elementary theories of 1-D structures) are not particularly easy to deconstruct, although the range of equations included is reasonably comprehensive.
Chapters four to nine address specific topics relevant to the mechanics of materials, including composite and inelastic structural behaviour, thin- walled structures, energy-based methods of analysis, the elasticity and mechanics of materials and the finite element technique. These chapters are illustrated predominantly by worked examples in 1D.
Each chapter begins with a helpful overview that puts its content into context, describes its learning objectives and directs the reader to key material presented in the introductory chapters.
A relatively high level of rigour is employed throughout the text, and the author frequently includes worked examples (with solutions) to guide the student, and these are particularly successful.
The book concludes, as all books in this area seem to, with appendices of supplementary mathematics (matrix algebra in this case) and tables of data for structures of various geometries under a variety of mechanical influences.
Who is it for? A second-level text written in an American style, suitable for engineering and physics undergraduates on second or third-year courses at UK universities. Presentation A little difficult to follow in places, but nevertheless a useful academic reference on intermediate to advanced mechanical properties of materials that should appeal to a relatively specialist cross-section of undergraduate engineers and physicists.
Would you recommend it? Probably.
Intermediate Mechanics of Materials. First Edition
Author - Madhukar Vable
Publisher - Oxford University Press
Pages - 624
Price - £40.99
ISBN - 9780195188554