Chapter 25. Ten Steps to Solving Any Statics Problem

You're walking down the street, confident in your newly honed statics skills, when you see a big mass of support reactions and applied loads unlike any you've ever seen run out of the building in front of you. It quickly turns, let's out an evil laugh, and rushes straight for you. Your first instinct is to turn and run (and who can blame you really, some statics problems can be especially nasty). Or you can sidestep the problem altogether and pretend to not notice, but that means letting an unsolved statics problem run rampant through the world. There are innocent bystanders watching, and you must ask yourself, "What do I do?"

Armed with paper, pencil, and calculator, you set to work to save all of humanity. Now, if only you could remember the vital aspects of statics problem solving. Luckily, this chapter provides the ten concepts you need to remember for taming that runaway problem.

Sketches Come First

Without a doubt, when in doubt, the first thing you must do is quickly make a sketch of the statics problem. You're not trying to pick it out of a police lineup; a sketch just gives you the best basic starting point for static analysis. When you first start sketching, don't worry about all of the little details and the moving internal parts — just make a quick sketch of the object as a whole and focus simply on how the object is attached to the ...

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