Engineering Statics: Open and Interactive
Daniel W. Baker, Colorado State University
William Haynes, Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Copyright Year: 2020
Publisher: Daniel Baker and William Haynes
Conditions of Use
This text covers most all topics under the statics umbrella with the notable exception of virtual work. The end of chapter interactive problem sets are excellent and make for a good review of the topics covered. The option to "randomize" each... read more
This text covers most all topics under the statics umbrella with the notable exception of virtual work. The end of chapter interactive problem sets are excellent and make for a good review of the topics covered. The option to "randomize" each problem is a great help in exam preparation. The back matter covers useful trigonometric functions and provides handy steel sections tables.
I found no obvious errors or biases in the text. The back matter equations and reference tables are accurate.
The basic principles of statics covered by this text will remain relevant for a very long time. The end of chapter problem "randomization" feature will provide fresh challenges to the student and teacher. The prose used in writing the text is modern and up to date. Since it is provided on-line, the text should be relatively easy to keep current.
The text is written in an easy-to-read style with a fairly basic vocabulary. The technical terms used are well explained. The illustrations are adequate but could be expanded to include some simple video content. A feature to vary the font type and size would make the text more accessible. The use of color in many of the illustrations helps with clarity. The method of concealing the answer and solution guides to the example problems is clever.
The text follows a consistent, repeated pattern throughout. The presentation of each topic adequately builds on ideas and concepts from previous chapters. The overall structure of the text holds together well.
The text is divided into very manageable segments that can stand on their own. It does not appear to be overly self-referential. There are no enormous blocks of text or sections that run-on unnecessarily.
The text is well organized with deliberate and logical progression through statics concepts. The on-line version of the text seems to flow better due to the interactive design, but both on-line and pdf versions are well organized.
Both the on-line and pdf versions of the text provide easy and clear navigation. A check of several of the text hyperlinks showed accurate navigation. Charts, graphs, and other images were clear and readable.
No obvious grammatical errors were encountered.
The topic of statics does not lend itself to much discussion of cultural topics. The examples used in the text were generic and did not seem to be culturally biased, offensive, or insensitive.
A fully hyperlinked and intuitive table of contents is available for this text. I could find no index, however, the PDF version is searchable, and a search bar exists in the browser edition. For the most part, this text covers all topics normally... read more
A fully hyperlinked and intuitive table of contents is available for this text. I could find no index, however, the PDF version is searchable, and a search bar exists in the browser edition. For the most part, this text covers all topics normally associated with a typical engineering undergraduate class in mechanics dealing with the state of bodies at rest. The text begins with Newton's Laws, Forces, and Vectors, then moves on to the analysis of particles and rigid bodies. The text also includes chapters on centroids and moments of inertia, as well as chapters on internal loading and friction. A section on virtual work and energy methods is however, missing.
I have not noticed in inaccuracies and have used this text as an optional online resource in my sophomore level statics class for a number of semesters now. Students have never reported any issues.
The relevance for this text is quite high. The material presented here has not changed in at least the last 4 decades. The online mode of delivery, however, is quite refreshing and a relative new achievement. This text is licensed under CC Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike.
Chapters are divided into sections and the information is brief and to the point. Occasionally supporting graphics are presented and these can be easily magnified. Very little time is spent on derivation or formulation of relationships presented. However, occasionally extra "thinking deeper" information is presented at a mouse click. Here optional background information is presented on certain subjects. There are some example problems associated with topics and these are somewhat interactive... usually involving showing an answer then showing a more detailed solution on mouse click . Occasionally, there is an interactive diagram demonstrating some concept visually. However, I did not always find these intuitive, and in some cases did not understand how to effectively manipulate them.
I did not notice any inconsistencies in terminology or framework. The work is authored in PreTeXt and powered by MathJax. I have always found it quite easy to navigate chapters and sections consistently in this text. However, I have never tried using it on a cell phone or pad. In the appendix, there is a notation chapter outlining many if not all symbols used in the text.
The text is divided into chapters (common to most texts of this type). Each chapter is then broken down into sections. An appendix with math formulas and steel section properties is also included. This helps comply with ABET standards. I, however, could not locate simple shape properties in any tables or diagrams either in the chapters or appendices.
The topics are present is a short concise fashion. This in my opinion is appropriate for an online resource. However, I would like to see the availability of more details concerning the derivation and/or development of some concepts and equations. Perhaps this could be added in optional user interactive sections.
Navigation of chapters, sections, and pages is quite easy and intuitive for this text. Some of the interactive diagrams were confusing and not well explained. A search bar is available to help locate specific ideas. However, this material is so consistently organized that navigation with the interactive Contents menu is all that I have ever needed.
I saw no issues here.
I noticed no insensitive or offensive areas in this text.
I have used this text for a number of semesters as a secondary resource for students in my engineering static classes. I think it would also work well as an instructor resource. The license allows for it to be upgraded and specialized to a users needs in a non-commercial and open way.
The textbook covers the fundamental concepts of statics including, force and vector analysis, equilibrium, internal reactions, and geometrical properties. The textbook also includes required steel section tables and a review of trigonometry... read more
The textbook covers the fundamental concepts of statics including, force and vector analysis, equilibrium, internal reactions, and geometrical properties. The textbook also includes required steel section tables and a review of trigonometry principles. I would suggest this textbook in combination with a textbook on basics of mechanics and material properties to students who seek learning about basic concepts of engineering design.
To the best of my understanding the content of the textbook and the interactive exercises look accurate, unbiased, and thorough.
The textbook contains basic principles of statics which are not expected to be changed unless a groundbreaking theory in physics emerges in the future! The text itself is arranged in a way that can easily be edited and extended. I appreciate the efforts that the author has made to create and embed the interactive diagrams and exercises within the textbook instead of inserting the link of available items across different references. This will maintain the configuration of the textbook in the long term.
The text is written in a friendly tone and even students’ presumptions and concerns are early discussed in first chapters. Technical terms are well explained for those who may not have any background in engineering. In the future, the author may include relevant videos to the textbook as well to enhance the clarity of the materials and better engage audio-visual learners.
The text and even visuals are consistent in terms of terminology, format, and graphics. All figures are numbered and mentioned within the text.
The textbook is appropriately organized in 10 chapters. Each chapter is explained in multiple subsections that allow readers focusing on small chunks of learning materials. The text includes occasional references to other subsections for further information but such self-references do not look disruptive.
Both online and PDF version of the book are presented in a fine, clear and logical fashion. The online version allows easy navigation between different sections and subsections. The PDF version is also clearly formatted. It is helpful that each chapter begins with a series of key questions and ends with a number of exercises.
I reviewed the online version both on a computer and smartphone. The interface looks fine on a computer but on a smartphone some of the interactive diagrams cannot be displayed. However, I think students may rarely use a smartphone as a primary means of accessing the textbook.
The textbook looks well proofed.
The textbook is focused on math and physics and doesn’t discuss culturally sensitive topics. Examples intrinsically do not have the capacity to demonstrate diversity and inclusion matters.
The topics covered in a typical college Engineering Statics course are present. The chapters follow a common Statics textbook pattern of concepts, starting with forces and particles and ending with friction and moments of inertia. Chapter 6... read more
The topics covered in a typical college Engineering Statics course are present. The chapters follow a common Statics textbook pattern of concepts, starting with forces and particles and ending with friction and moments of inertia. Chapter 6 includes the method of cuts and the method of joints. The only thing that many commercial Statics textbooks have compared to this book is an extensive number of problems at the end of each chapter (the fiction chapter, in particular, had few practice problems) and more reference material at the end of the book such as the centroid of common shapes. What this book has that those commercial books lack are interactive problems.
To the best of my knowledge, the content in the book is accurate. The interactive problems I attempted showed the same auto-generated answer as I recorded using pencil and paper. The equations seem accurate throughout. The reference material at the end of the book which contains things like trig identities and properties of steel sections seems accurate.
The fundamentals of Engineering Statics, like introductory Physics and Chemistry, have not changed in a decade. So the content in the book is relevant to a current Statics course and will be relevant to future Statics classes. The only reason the book could become dated is that the interactive animations and interactive problems are no longer supported by new web browsers or new web browsing tools that I can’t even imagine will be in place in 10 years. The book has a pdf version that can be printed.
The clarity of the writing is high, the font and spacing are easy to read. The book is written in a formal academic style which is clear but can seem terse. The diagrams in the book are easy to read and use a common style to show forces, angles, and geometry.
The book is consistent from chapter to chapter and the formatting is consistent from chapter to chapter. The book has a clear numbering system for chapters, sections, and subsections. Each of the diagrams and pictures in the book follows the same captioning format. Equations in the book are formatted consistently and labeled in the same way. Each section within a chapter in the book contains a set of “key questions” that section addresses.
The book is broken up into chapters and each chapter is broken down into sections. A typical quarter or semester-long Statics course would cover almost all of the book. It would be possible to only cover a few chapters. These chapters would need to start at the beginning of the book. It wouldn’t make sense to try and pull out just the middle or end chapters as the material in the book builds up chapter to chapter. One way the book could be used is to just assign the interactive problems for practice.
This book is organized and follows a clear structure. Each chapter starts with a chapter description and a list of sections. Each section starts with “Key Questions” and then proceeds with the section content. There are interactive problems at the end of each chapter.
The online book interface is easy to navigate. Each chapter and section is clickable and it is easy to determine which part of the book you are reading. The sections load quickly and the images, diagrams, and interactive problems load without issue. In particular, the interactive problems are pretty slick. The only reason I don’t rate the interface as a 5 is that there is no search function. I don’t know how hard it would be to add a search bar to the online version of the book, but I do think a search function would be helpful. On my device, the book only took up the left half of my screen. This may be related to the browser/device I use, but in my reading, it seems like half of the screen real estate is wasted and a lot of scrolling is needed.
No grammatical or structural errors were found. The book seems to be free of typos and seems well-proofed. There also don’t seem to be any formatting inconsistencies chapter to chapter or section to section.
From what I read, I didn't notice any insensitive or offensive passages in the book. However, the lens of diversity and cultural relevance is not addressed in this book. Some of the pictures in the book depicting statics topics cover common “male-dominated” examples such as motorcycles, and football training sleds.
This is a well-written, high-quality, and organized book. It is a great resource for both instructors and students in undergraduate courses in Engineering Statics. For our needs, at a community college with a 2-year program in Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering, this book is a good alternative to commercial offerings from Pearson or McGraw-Hill. It’s a high-quality and interesting book with fantastic interactive problems. The only knock against it is that there could be more worked examples and problems at the end of each chapter for student practice.
Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction to Statics
- 2 Forces and Other Vectors
- 3 Equilibrium of Particles
- 4 Moments and Static Equivalence
- 5 Rigid Body Equilibrium
- 6 Equilibrium of Structures
- 7 Centroids and Centers of Gravity
- 8 Internal Loadings
- 9 Friction
- 10 Moments of Inertia
About the Book
Engineering Statics is a free, open-source textbook appropriate for anyone who wishes to learn more about vectors, forces, moments, static equilibrium, and the properties of shapes. Specifically, it has been written to be the textbook for Engineering Mechanics: Statics, the first course in the Engineering Mechanics series offered in most university-level engineering programs.
This book’s content should prepare you for subsequent classes covering Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics and Mechanics of Materials. At its core, Engineering Statics provides the tools to solve static equilibrium problems for rigid bodies. The additional topics of resolving internal loads in rigid bodies and computing area moments of inertia are also included as stepping stones for later courses. We have endeavored to write in an approachable style and provide many questions, examples, and interactives for you to engage with and learn from.
About the Contributors
Daniel W. Baker, Colorado State University
William Haynes, Massachusetts Maritime Academy