The purpose of this book is to explain the principies of matrix structural analysis in sufficient depth so that the reader will be able to acquire a working knowledge of modern analytical techniques. The required background for effective utilization of this book · is an undergraduate course in the mechanics of deformable bodies (strength of materials).
While in practice all but the simplest structural analysis problems are sol ved with the aid of a computer, a knowledge of computer programming is not a prerequisite to the understanding of matrix methods of structural analysis. The matrix algebra . operations required are explained in Appendix B and a listing of a computer program. which · will perform matrix algebra operations is given in Appendix E. The history of structural analysis has its roots in the studies of the ancient Greeks who first pondered the concepts of force and equilibrium. However, structural analysis as a discipline distinct from stress analysis and structural design began to develop only in the first half of the 19th century. The first book devoted to structural analysis (of trusses) appears to have been written by Squire Whipple in 1847 (“An Essay onBridge Building,” Utica, New York, 1847). During the ensuing century many analysis techniques were developed and structural analysis had become a highly developed discipline by the beginning ofWW 11. Sorne ofthese classical techniques are described in Chapters lüand 11.
Following WW II, two factors led to the development of matrix structural analysis. The first was the advent of the high-speed electronic computer which freed the analyst from making laborious hand computations and . which permitted him to abandon timesaving approximate methods of analysis in favor of more exact methods. The second was the increasing size and complexity of civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and aerospace structures and the concomitant requirement for better and faster methods of analysis.