A consistent, systematic procedure is required for solving problems in the mechanics of solids. A basic method of attack for any analysis problems is to define (or understand) the problem. Formulation of the problem requires consideration of the physical situations and an idealized description by the pertinent diagrams that approximate the actual component under consideration. The following five steps may be helpful in formulation and solution of a problem:
1. Define the problem and state briefly what is given.
2. State consistently what is to be determined.
3. List simplifying assumptions to be made.
4. Apply the appropriate equations to find the unknowns.
5. Comment on the results briefly.