9R25. Elements de Mecanique des Structures. (Elements of the Mechanics of Structures). - M del Pedro and T Gmur (Ecole Polytechnique Federale, Lausanne, Switzerland). Presses Polytech, Lausanne. 2001. 262 pp. ISBN 2-88074-487-3.
Reviewed by P Laura (Dept of Eng, Univ Nacional del Sur, Av Alem 1253, Bahia Blanca, 8000, Argentina) and CA Rossit (Dept de Ingenieria, Univ Nacional del Sur, Avenida Alem 1253, Bahia Blanca, 8000, Argentina).
This is an excellent undergraduate textbook which deals with classical elements of Strength of Materials. It will be of wide use in the corresponding undergraduate courses in civil, mechanical, and naval engineering.
From a philosophical viewpoint, it would have been nice if names of certain scientists and historical data would have been included in the corresponding sections, like Galileo Galilei, Cauchy, Zhuravski, etc. This is a matter of opinion, certainly, but it gives the students a better perspective from scientific and technological viewpoints, of the effort of mankind.
By the same token, one could mention the necessity of using numerical and approximate analytical methods in many problems of the mathematical theory of elasticity and the usefulness of the digital computer.
The authors deal very well with the basics of theory of plasticity. On the other hand, something could have been mentioned about the coupling of elastic situations with thermal phenomena, the theory of viscoelasticity (of fundamental importance when dealing with polymers, fabrics, soils, etc), and the existence of dynamic and thermodynamic phenomena since Nature is, essentially, dynamic and thermal.
Another point which is almost always missed in strength of materials courses is the fact that the subject is also of importance to electrical and electronic engineers: from transmission lines to the mounting of transformers passing through the design of printed circuit boards. Many students in North and South America take a course in strength of materials and are never told about these facts.
A synthetic treatment of experimental stress and strain analysis will also be of use to the student. The reviewers certainly do not mean to go into detail in these rather specialized areas, but just want to mention them with elementary discussions which prove that science and technology deal with Nature and some of her laws, and modelling her is not a simple task. Ten to twelve more pages would suffice to accommodate these topics.
The book does possess an outstanding organization, it is very well written, and the figures are clear and didactic. The reviewers welcome the appearance of this new strength of materials textbook. An English translation of Elements de Mecanique des Structures would be very well received.