Introduction

Mathcad is a powerful and easy to use computational tool that is used by most academic institutions and many design offices. The aim of this chapter is to demonstrate how the analysis and design calculations for structural timber can be incorporated into simple-to-use electronic notepads or worksheets using this software. Access to a personal computer (PC) and the associated software 'Mathcad' is not a prerequisite for understanding the design calculations in the examples given in the book. All of the design examples in the book are fully self-explanatory and well annotated. They have been produced in the form of worksheet files and are available on a CD to run under Mathcad 11 or higher. Details are given at the end of the book.

The design worksheets given are intended as a source of study, practice and further development by the reader. They should not be seen as complete and comprehensive but rather as the foundations of a design system that can be developed further. The aim is to encourage readers to use computing as a tool to increase their understanding of how design solutions vary in response to a change in one or more of the variables and how alternative design options can be readily obtained. This will allow design engineers to arrive at the most suitable and economic solution quickly.

It is important to note that this chapter is not intended to teach Mathcad. It aims only to familiarise the readers with the Mathcad worksheet formats that are used to produce the design examples given in the book.

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