Satisfyingly weighty, Mechanics of Materials contains a multitude of worked examples and theoretical concepts. Not for the total beginner, it assumes an understanding of statics, with the first chapter covering introductory material. The structure is logical and each chapter introduces new core models and ideas that rely on the comprehension of previous chapters. The book also doubles as a reference text for those already acquainted with the basic theories.
The text's main objectives, as detailed in the preface, are to develop the engineering student's ability to analyse a given problem in a simple and logical manner and to apply a few fundamental and well-understood principles to its solution.
The text is clearly laid out, with relevant free-body diagrams detailing problems and examples, aiming to provide the reader and future engineer with the means of analysing and designing various machines and load-bearing structures. For example, the first four chapters are devoted to the analysis of the stresses and of the corresponding deformations in various structural members.
Diagrams are notably more detailed than most lecture material; the explanatory drawings greatly aid clarity. They help the reader to understand the superposition of loadings and the resulting stresses and deformations. This is vital, as it is often a student's inability to visualise a problem, rather than an inability to carry out the analysis, that prevents progress.
There is a useful review and summary section at the end of each chapter, supplemented with a set of review problems (answers in the back), as well as computer problems to be solved with the aid of student-compiled programs.
Mechanics of Materials explains difficult concepts concisely and introduces them as it progresses, which makes it useful for an engineering student in any year of study and in several disciplines, be it materials, structural mechanics or mechanics of materials and solids. When these complicated topics are explored, the text refers back to previous chapters in which relevant core techniques have been taught. This cross-referencing allows the reader to use the text more completely and effectively.
Examples are challenging (with problems ordered in increasing difficulty), but with sufficient rigour most examples are solvable. As a supplement to lecture courses and a reference guide it is highly recommended, and commended for its thorough and accurate style. It is not, however, a direct replacement for lecture material; more a very useful companion.
Who is it for? Engineering undergraduates studying any aspect of materials, mechanics of solids and structural mechanics.
Presentation: Detailed, accurate and clear. Accompanied by several supplemental resources, including an instructor's solutions manual as well as McGraw-Hill's ARIS, a complete online learning tutorial, and Hands-On Mechanics, a teaching resource for lecturers. Would you recommend it? If practice or extra explanation is needed on any aspect of material covered in lectures then this text is an invaluable resource.
Mechanics of Materials – SI version
Authors: Ferdinand P. Beer, E. Russell Johnston Jr, John T. DeWolf and David F. Mazurek