Synopses & Reviews
For anyone who has ever wondered why suspension bridges don’t collapse under eight lanes of traffic, how dams hold back—or give way under—thousands of gallons of water, or what principles guide the design of a skyscraper, a nightgown, or a kangaroo, this book will ease your anxiety and answer your questions. Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down is an informal explanation of the basic forces that hold together the ordinary and essential things of this world—from buildings and bodies to flying aircraft and eggshells. In a style that combines wit, a masterful command of his subject, and an encyclopedic range of reference, J. E. Gordon strips engineering of its technical mathematics and communicates the theory behind the structures of a wide variety of materials.Chapters on ”How to Design a Worm” and ”The Advantage of Being a Beam” offer humorous insights into human and natural creation. For architects and engineers there are cogent explanations of the concepts of stress, shear, torsion, fracture, and compression, and chapters on safety design and the relationship of efficiency to aesthetics. If you are building a house, a sailboat, or a catapult, here is a handy tool for understanding the mechanics of joinery, floors, ceilings, hulls, masts—or flying buttresses. Without jargon or over-simplification, Structures surveys the nature of materials and gives sophisticated answers to the most naive questions, opening up the marvels of technology to anyone interested in the foundations of our everyday lives.