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Re: Explaining Structural Mechanics with simple analogies./ RE: WISHWANATH

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Wishwanath,

I really am happy that you have also reviewed this book. All these that you just shared with us are infact there in this wonderful book of Mr. Salavadori; Iam really a fan of this Italian Professor for his remarkable style of explaining complex Structural Mechanics in a very simple & comprehensive manner.

To add to this let me share with you an episode that occured with me in my office recently. A Q.C Engineer (having most experiences working at Sites) working with me doing a quality control check of Structural Shop Drawings for me before issue to the Site once asked me if I could help him start a career in Structural Design works. I was happy he was inspired by a Structural Engineer. I couldn't say him no right away. But I did tell him Structural Engineering was a difficult career; nobody could become a Structural Engineer if he couldn't understand or imagine the FORCES and the type & nature of RESPONSE by the memebers subjected to these FORCES. At first he couldn't quite follow me. Then I gave him a photo copy of this book by Prof. Salvadori (as a gift) and told him to review this book in free time to understand what I was really talking about. He was a fairly intelligent guy; he enjoyed reading this book & often came back to me to show how complex things have been so easily explained in this book. The guy is still working for me & iam sure one day he will come out to be a good Structural Engineer.

Coming back to the subject, yes indeed this book is a good reference for all those of us who find it difficult to understand or imagine the Structural Forces & ultimate response of the Structural elements/members to these forces, for this is so very important to understand the Subject of Structural Engineering. Best regards,

SYED FAIZ AHMAD; MENGG, MASCE
SENIOR STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
SAUDI OGER LTD
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA.


From: G Vishwanath <gvshwnth(--nospam--at)yahoo.com>
Reply-To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Explaining Structural Mechanics with simple analogies.
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 05:53:45 -0700 (PDT)

Dennis and Syed Faiz Ahmed,

I remember seeing that book too. (Structures for
Architects.) A copy was available in the British
Library at Bangalore. I was able to enjoy this book.

It will be an excellent reference that Dennis can use
at the moment.

While on the subject, I had a teacher who explained
very convincingly and in an amazingly simple fashion
how a folded plate gets strength by virtue of its
shape.

He took two books of equal thickness and placed them
about 6 to 8 inches apart on the table.

Next he placed a plain sheet of paper 8"X11"
supporting one short edge on one book and the other
short edge on the other. He now had a "thin slab"
spanning between the books and  ready to be loaded. He
placed his wrist watch on the top of this slab. The
paper couldn't support the weight.

The teacher than boasted that he could make the paper
support this weight without reducing the span or
adding material to the paper.

He then proceeded to make alternate folds in the sheet
of paper into strips (like a paper fan) and made a
folded plate structure out of this sheet of paper. It
was now stiff enough to support the watch and a pen
and pencil in addition.

I still remember this analogy better than the
differential equations and the mathematical jugglery
he later proceeded to do to teach us formally and in
the orthodox way the theory of plates and shells way
back in the early seventies when I was a post graduate
student of Structural Engineering  at the University
of Roorkee in India.


Another teacher illustrated convincingly how the
moment of intertia is related to bending strength. A
simple 1 foot long plastic scale was all that was
needed. He showed how easily it could be bent about
the weaker axis and how difficult it was to bend it
about the stronger axis.

I also remember the humorous analogy that my teacher
of theory of structures gave us to explain how moments
at a rigid joint in a frame get distributed among the
members meeting at the joint in proportion to their
stiffnesses. If a member was overstressed, the
solution was not always to strengthen the member. This
would merely make the member take more force.

In real life situations, we see this happening. In a
team , the stronger, and more capable and sincere
always shoulder additional burdens. The weak  manage
to escape work by simply continuing to be weak.
Making the strong even stronger merely makes them
shoulder additional burdens. The weak still get away.
Not for nothing do they say that in many organizations
80% of the work is done by 20 percent of the people.

Do others have any similar examples to contribute ?

Regards and have a good weekend.

G Vishwanath
Bangalore, India



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