Structures, Volume 1
There exists an invariant set of physical principles founded in the field of mechanics that can be used by designers as aids to understanding the behavior of existing structural forms and in devising new approaches. The development of these principles has flowered during the past three centuries to the extent that they are amazingly well established and documented. Some new understandings, of course, are continuing to occur and will hopefully always do so. Still, the analytical tools already available to the designer are extensive and enormously powerful. Thus, the real challenge in the field of structures lies not so much in developing new analytical tools, but in bringing those currently in existence to bear in the designing and formulation of creative structural solutions with the intent of making better buildings.
In this book, we discuss, in an introductory way, the nature of the invariant physical principles that underlie the behavior of structures under load. The primary goal of the book, however, is not simply to teach analytical techniques, but, more generally, to explore their role in the design of structures in a building context. Because of this larger goal, the book covers material not only discussed in specialized engineering curricula, but also, to some extent, covered in architecture curricula as well. The traditional hard boundaries between subdisciplines in engineering (e.g., statics and strength of materials) have also been deliberately softened and a more integrative approach taken.
The book is divided into three major parts. Part I is an introduction to the subject and to fundamental concepts of analysis and design. Part II introduces the reader to most of the primary structural elements used in buildings and discusses their analysis and design. Each of the chapters in this part is divided into sections that (1) introduce the element considered and explain its role in building, (2) discuss its behavior under load in qualitative terms (an "intuitive" approach), (3) examine its behavior under load in quantitative terms, and (4) discuss methods for designing (rather than just analyzing) the element. Part III contains a unique examination of the principles of structural design, as it is a part of the larger building design process. The appendices generally discuss more advanced principles of structural analysis.
The book is intended largely as a resource for students and instructors wishing to design their own curriculum. For those wanting to adopt a strictly qualitative approach to the subject, it is possible, for example, to read only Chapter 1 in Part 1, the sections entitled "Introduction" and "General Principles" in each of the chapters in Part II, and all of Part 111. This coverage will provide a brief qualitative overview of the field, with a special emphasis on design rather than analysis. For those students who already have a background in the analytical aspects of structures, Part III contains summary information that is useful in a design context. Part III can be read independently by such students.
Within Parts I, II, and III, there is a certain redundancy in the way analytical topics are covered, so that students or instructors can integrate the material in the order they see fit. Shear and moment diagrams, for example, are first introduced in an abstract way in Chapter 2. They are reintroduced in connection with the analysis of a specific structural element: the truss.Wherethe different presentations are introduced, if at all, may be varied by the instructor.
Depending on the reader's needs or the curriculum followed, a reasonable sequence might be an overview (Chapter 1), basic statics (Chapter 2, Sections 2.1 to 2.3), loads and load modeling (Chapter 3), truss analysis and design (Chapter 4), cables and arches (Chapter 5), shear and moment diagrams (Chapter 2, Section 2.4), material properties (Chapter 2, Section 2.6), columns (Chapter 7), continuous beams (Chapter 8), frames (Chapter 9), plate and grid structures (Chapter 10), membranes and nets (Chapter 11), and shells (Chapter 12). The chapters in Part III on grids, lateral load resistance approaches, and construction types are often best covered either in parallel or in conjunction with a studio exercise. Other instructors may choose to approach the subject material differently. The book is designed to have sufficient flexibility to support different approaches. The material is presented in such a way that a direct cover-to-cover reading is also appropriate.
The author is, of course, indebted to a vast number of people in either a direct or an indirect way for the approach taken in this book. Professors Spiro Pollalis and Martin Bechthold contributed their time and help revising the manuscript and in preparing the accompanying student CD, which contains examples and case studies. The endless patience and contributions of several years of students in the Graduate School of Design at Harvard who have taken courses involving the material contained herein are also greatly appreciated. Especially important are Kay, Ned, and Ben Schodek, who provided their own special form of support. In addition, particular thanks are due to Kirk Martini, University of Virginia; Kuppaswamy Iyengar, University of New Mexico; Harry Giles, University of Michigan; and Michele Chiuini, Ball State University, for their assistance with the fifth edition text review.
Daniel L. Schodek
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Principles of Mechanics
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