This is one of two books which teach students the basic mechanical behaviour of materials at rest (statics) and in motion (dynamics) while developing their mastery of engineering methods of analyzing and solving problems. Traditionally, books for the statics and dynamics courses require students simply to plug problem data into standardized mathematical formulas and then compute an answer without thinking through the problem beforehand. Pytel and Kiusalaas reject this "plug-and-chug" approach. In sample problems throughout the book, the authors direct students to identify the number of unknowns and independent equations in the problem before they attempt to calculate an answer. In this way, Pytel and Kiusalaas continually train students to think about how and why problems can be solved, by recognising up front whether a problem is statically determinate (where the number of unknowns and equations are equal), or statically indeterminate (where the number of unknowns is greater than the number of independent equations).
Dr. Andrew Pytel received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, his M.S. in Engineering Mechanics, and his Ph.D in Engineering Mechanics from The Pennsylvania State University. In addition to his career at Penn State University, Dr. Pytel served as an Assistant Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and as an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in Boston. He became a full Professor at The Penn State University in 1984 and a Professor Emeritus in 1995. Throughout his career, Dr. Pytel has taught numerous courses and received many honors and awards. He has participated extensively with the American Society for Engineering Education and was named a Fellow of the ASEE in 2008.