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Essential Math Skills for Engineers

ISBN: 978-1-118-21110-6
248 pages
September 2011, Wiley-IEEE Press
Essential Math Skills for Engineers (1118211103) cover image
Just the math skills you need to excel in the study or practice of engineering

Good math skills are indispensable for all engineers regardless of their specialty, yet only a relatively small portion of the math that engineering students study in college mathematics courses is used on a frequent basis in the study or practice of engineering. That's why Essential Math Skills for Engineers focuses on only these few critically essential math skills that students need in order to advance in their engineering studies and excel in engineering practice.

Essential Math Skills for Engineers features concise, easy-to-follow explanations that quickly bring readers up to speed on all the essential core math skills used in the daily study and practice of engineering. These fundamental and essential skills are logically grouped into categories that make them easy to learn while also promoting their long-term retention. Among the key areas covered are:

  • Algebra, geometry, trigonometry, complex arithmetic, and differential and integral calculus

  • Simultaneous, linear, algebraic equations

  • Linear, constant-coefficient, ordinary differential equations

  • Linear, constant-coefficient, difference equations

  • Linear, constant-coefficient, partial differential equations

  • Fourier series and Fourier transform

  • Laplace transform

  • Mathematics of vectors

With the thorough understanding of essential math skills gained from this text, readers will have mastered a key component of the knowledge needed to become successful students of engineering. In addition, this text is highly recommended for practicing engineers who want to refresh their math skills in order to tackle problems in engineering with confidence.


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1 What Do Engineers Do?

2 Miscellaneous Math Skills.

2.1 Equations of Lines, Planes, and Circles.

2.2 Areas and Volumes of Common Shapes.

2.3 Roots of a Quadratic Equation.

2.4 Logarithms.

2.5 Reduction of Fractions and Lowest Common Denominators.

2.6 Long Division.

2.7 Trigonometry.

2.7.1 The Common Trigonometric Functions: Sine, Cosine, and Tangent.

2.7.2 Areas of Triangles.

2.7.3 The Hyperbolic Trigonometric Functions: Sinh, Cosh, and Tanh.

2.8 Complex Numbers and Algebra, and Euler’s Identity.

2.8.1 Solution of Differential Equations Having Sinusoidal Forcing Functions.

2.9 Common Derivatives and Their Interpretation.

2.10 Common Integrals and Their Interpretation.

2.11 Numerical Integration.

3 Solution of Simultaneous, Linear, Algebraic Equations.

3.1 How to Identify Simultaneous, Linear, Algebraic Equations.

3.2 The Meaning of a Solution.

3.3 Cramer’s Rule and Symbolic Equations.

3.4 Gauss Elimination.

3.5 Matrix Algebra.

4 Solution of Linear, Constant-Coeffi cient, Ordinary Differential Equations.

4.1 How to Identify Linear, Constant-Coeffi cient, Ordinary Differential Equations.

4.2 Where They Arise: The Meaning of a Solution.

4.3 Solution of First-Order Equations.

4.3.1 The Homogeneous Solution.

4.3.2 The Forced Solution for “Nice” f(t).

4.3.3 The Total Solution.

4.3.4 A Special Case.

4.4 Solution of Second-Order Equations.

4.4.1 The Homogeneous Solution.

4.4.2 The Forced Solution for “Nice” f(t).

4.4.3 The Total Solution.

4.4.4 A Special Case.

4.5 Stability of the Solution.

4.6 Solution of Simultaneous Sets of Ordinary Differential Equations with the Differential Operator.

4.6.1 Using the Differential Operator to Verify Solutions.

4.7 Numerical (Computer) Solutions.

5 Solution of Linear, Constant-Coeffi cient, Difference Equations.

5.1 Where Difference Equations Arise.

5.2 How to Identify Linear, Constant-Coeffi cient Difference Equations.

5.3 Solution of First-Order Equations.

5.3.1 The Homogeneous Solution.

5.3.2 The Forced Solution for “Nice” f(n).

5.3.3 The Total Solution.

5.3.4 A Special Case.

5.4 Solution of Second-Order Equations.

5.4.1 The Homogeneous Solution.

5.4.2 The Forced Solution for “Nice” f(n).

5.4.3 The Total Solution.

5.4.4 A Special Case.

5.5 Stability of the Solution.

5.6 Solution of Simultaneous Sets of Difference Equations with the Difference Operator.

5.6.1 Using the Difference Operator to Verify Solutions.

6 Solution of Linear, Constant-Coeffi cient, Partial Differential Equations.

6.1 Common Engineering Partial Differential Equations.

6.2 The Linear, Constant-Coeffi cient, Partial Differential Equation.

6.3 The Method of Separation of Variables.

6.4 Boundary Conditions and Initial Conditions.

6.5 Numerical (Computer) Solutions via Finite Differences: Conversion to Difference Equations.

7 The Fourier Series and Fourier Transform.

7.1 Periodic Functions.

7.2 The Fourier Series.

7.3 The Fourier Transform.

8 The Laplace Transform.

8.1 Transforms of Important Functions.

8.2 Useful Transform Properties.

8.3 Transforming Differential Equations.

8.4 Obtaining the Inverse Transform Using Partial Fraction Expansions.

9 Mathematics of Vectors.

9.1 Vectors and Coordinate Systems.

9.2 The Line Integral.

9.3 The Surface Integral.

9.4 Divergence.

9.4.1 The Divergence Theorem.

9.5 Curl.

9.5.1 Stokes’ Theorem.

9.6 The Gradient of a Scalar Field.


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Clayton R. Paul, PhD, is the Sam Nunn Eminent Professor of Aerospace Systems Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Mercer University. He is also Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Paul is the author or coauthor of fifteen electrical engineering textbooks and has published more than 200 technical papers. He is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was awarded the prestigious 2005 IEEE Electromagnetics Award and the prestigious 2007 IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award.
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Summarizing, this is a very nice textbook, covering many interesting topics and written in a very digestible manner, which can be warmly recommended to students in natural sciences, computer science, and all branches of engineering.  (Zentralblatt MATH,  2011)


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