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Do you want to know some of the engineering references we use on our projects? Below is a list of books and references that we use on a regular basis. Now, none of these books were used in any of my college engineering classes, more on that in a moment. However, these references contain many of the standard practices and techniques used in the design and analysis of flight vehicle structures. These standard practices have been used for decades and are widely accepted in the aerospace/defense community. In our opinion, it would serve you well to have these books on your shelf as you build your career.

Now, why aren’t these books taught in college courses around the country? One reason is that some engineering programs lean towards a more theoretical curriculum, and therefore, applied engineering techniques are not covered in a classroom setting. Another reason is that these books aren’t cheap. On August 5, 2020, U.S. News reported that undergraduates could spend up to $1,240 on books and supplies during the 2019-2020 academic year. If you have ever purchased an engineering book, then you know that the $1,240 per year figure is probably on the low side.

With the cost of these books going up every year, college students are graduating without having any references to start their engineering career. I get it, there are several ways that these students are using to reduce costs and recoup some of these book expenses. For instance, students can buy or rent digital books, use online membership services, use library resources, or sell the used books back to local campus bookstores. However, in the end, these future employees are graduating and starting their careers without any reference materials.

We hope that you find this list of “must have books” helpful. Note that this list is in no particular order, so don’t rank one above the other. Finally, there are newer editions for some of these books, so be mindful of the most recent edition. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Roark’s Formulas for Stress and Strain
By: Warren C. Young

Mechanical Engineering Design
By: Joseph Edward Shigley and Charles R. Mischke

Analysis and Design of Flight Vehicle Structures
By: E.F. Bruhn

Fundamentals of Metal Fatigue Analysis
By: Julie A. Bannantine, Jess J. Comer, and James L. Handrock

Stress Concentration Factors
By: R.E. Peterson

Fluid-Dynamic Drag
By: S.F. Hoerner

An Introduction to the Design and Behavior of Bolted Joints
By: John H. Bickford

Guide to Design Criteria for Bolted and Riveted Joints
By: Geoffrey L. Kulak, John W. Fisher, and John H.A. Struik

Fastener Standards
By: Nova Machine Products Corporation

Shock and Vibration Handbook
By: Cyril M. Harris

Formulas for Natural Frequency and Mode Shape
By: Robert D. Blevins