New fields generally progress through three periods of technological development. During the first period, the development progresses via the periodical literature and is coordinated only through the medium of occasional survey papers. Applications in practice are quite scarce. In the second phase, monograph-type texts appear and give a comprehensive view
of the field for individuals actively engaged in further development of the field and applications are recorded by advanced technology groups in organizations with large resources. Finally, the applications spread to nearly all levels of practical activity and in the universities the subject matter of the field is offered as standard academic fare. Finite element analysis has only recently emerged from the second of the phases above. A number of excellent monographic texts have appeared but a need exists for a text directed toward the conventional course offering and toward the individual with no prior acquaintance with the field. This book is intended to serve this purpose. It is oriented toward a graduate level course for students specializing in solid mechanics. This would include students enrolled in the fields of mechanical and aerospace engineering, naval architecture, engineering mechanics, and civil engineering. To the extent that a bias exists toward one of these fields it is directed toward civil engineers pointing toward structural engineering practice.