The science of mechanics teats and deals with motion, forces, and all the effects of forces on the bodies upon which they act. Applied engineering mechanics concerns itself mainly with applications of the principles of mechanics to the solution of problems commonly met within the field of engineering practice. Mechanics is generally divided into two main branches of study, the first is static’s and the second is dynamics. Static’s is that branch which deals with forces and with the effects of forces action upon rigid bodies at rest.
The subjects of static’s therefore, is essentially one of force analysis: that is a study of force systems and of their solutions. Dynamics deals with motion and with the effects of forces acting on rigid bodies in motion. Dynamics is divided into two branches:
(1) Kinematics, the study of motion without consideration of the forces causing the motion, and
(2) kinetics, the study of forces actions on rigid bodies in motion and of their effect in changing such motion.
Engineers conceive , plan, design, and construct buildings, machines, airplanes, and countless other objects, for the comfort and use of the human race. Each of these objects serves a definite and useful purpose. Behind each lies an absorbingly interesting story of engineering skill and achievement. Having in mind a definite purpose for the object to be constructed, the engineer then conceives its appropriate form, either entirely new, or an improvement upon one already in existence. Next he must analyze and determine the forces, known and unknown, action on the object, and the motions, if any, of its various related parts.
To do this successfully the engineer must have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the principle of mechanics, and of their applications to his particular problem. Having thus determined the forces and the motions involved, he may proceed with the design of the object, using available materials of suitable strength and other requisite properties. The final size and shape of the object, and of each of its separate parts, may then be expressed in blueprints, after which the object is ready for production.
From this brief analysis of the work of the engineer, we see clearly that a knowledge of mechanics is as fundamental to success in the fields of engineering as is an understanding of the alphabet to those who would learn to read and write their own language. The extent of his knowledge of mechanics, may have an important bearing on the opportunities that will open to the student in this great field of work. Certainly without some knowledge and training in mechanics he would have little or no chance of entering the engineering profession.