The Twelfth Pan American Congress of Applied Mechanics (PACAM XII) was held at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Port of Spain in Trinidad & Tobago in Jan. 2012. The congress proceedings, comprising 153 short papers, were published at http://www.aamech.org/PACAM12/Home.html. During, and shortly after the congress, based on the four-page versions and the oral presentations, the best papers were selected by the session chairs and the scientific committee of the congress. The authors of these papers were invited to submit full-length papers to be published in this special issue of Journal of Applied Mechanics, although some authors already had other plans. As a result, six papers were finalized, all of which were peer reviewed.

The Pan American Congresses of Mechanics are the only meetings sponsored by the American Academy of Mechanics; they have always been held in a Latin American venue....

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