This is a post for aspirants of the GATE examination who are about to give the ME (Mechanical) paper. To learn a topic, or an entire chapter, there are three ways to which students resort:
:- Video Lectures
While all of them have their own share of pros and cons, this post is focussed on the importance of books in the concept building stage. A lot of students complain about books being incomplete, or deriving formulae in a haphazard manner, making it difficult for students to understand key chunks of concepts in a clear manner. This brings us to the topic of book selection; choosing the right book for a subject can be very crucial, to the extent that "thoroughly reading" the book line by line might solve all of your doubts.
Mechanical engineering is a broad domain that is sub-divided into a lot of topics: fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, machining processes and more. The thing is there are countless book available and going through all of them is time consuming. When you are selecting a book for a specific topic, keep in two thing that must be properly covered in the book:
Concepts generally consists of:
Derivations: A lot of books do not cover derivations properly. The assumptions and the procedure must be clearly outlined in the derivation such that you can find out the result on your own. In case of examinations remembering all the results become difficult and in such cases, knowing the basis of the derivation becomes crucial (For example the shear force and bending moment expressions for prismatic beams under different loaded conditions).
Diagrams: Derivations and results are further understood with the help of diagrams. The diagrams should have a proper labelling, and the notation used in the derivations should be used in the diagrams too (For example in turbomachinery fluid velocities, impeller blade velocities have a notation of c1 and u1, but if the diagram uses a different notation, it will be a big confusion).
Graphs: Results are meaningless unless they have graphs which depict the nature of the variations between parameters. A lot of times, a simple look at the graph is enough to recollect the results (In heat Transfer, conduction in a wall with no internal heat has a linear profile, while the presence of internal heat generates a parabolic profile).
Summary: Not a mandatory feature in a book, but having a summary at the end that enlists the important results is very helpful.
Numericals (Solved and Unsolved)
Solved numericals: Solved numerical have two advantages: One is they underline the application of the concept that has been derived; second is they have a stepwise solution. If you want to have a try at solving them, then you know that the entire solution is at your disposal, not only the answer. A lot of times it becomes difficult to find how some answers are written as correct in the book. Having a solved solution caters to this problem.
Unsolved numericals: Good for practice. Plus, it is better if there is a variety of problems. A number of times, students skip derivation based questions or ones where we have to find out an expression. Do not avoid these questions. They are as equally important as objective numericals.
Generally the most apt way is to refer to two books for a single topic; one that would have a great conceptual explanations in the form of diagrams, graphs, derivations (A lot of books do not cover derivations properly) and a book that would have lots of problems for practice and understanding.
Here are the topics and the books prescribed for each of them:
Differentials: Schaum Series, Kreyzig, B.S. Grewal
Complex maths: Schaum Series, Kreyzig, B.S. Grewal
Linear Algebra: Schaum Series, Kreyzig, B.S. Grewal
Numerical Methods: Schaum Series, Kreyzig, B.S. Grewal
Concepts: Beer And Johnston
Problems: R.S. Khurmi
Concepts: P.K. Nag
Problems: Cengel and Boles
Concepts: William D. Callister
Strength/Mechanics of Materials:
Concepts: Beer And Johnston
Problems: James M. Gere
Mechanics of Machinery:
Concepts: R.S. Khurmi
Problems: S.S. Rattan
Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery:
Concepts: S.K. Som
Problems: R.K. Bansal
Concept and Problems: P. K. Nag
Concepts: V.B. Bhandari
Problems: R.S. Khurmi
Concepts: Michael P. Groover
Concepts: Yunus. A. Cengel
Problems: P. K. Nag
Concepts: O.P. Khanna
Please note that there are lots of books for a single topic and do not restrict yourself to only 2 books per topic. The books suggested here are suitable only according to my opinion. The best suggestion is to go through the recommended books for a topic and decide on what’s best for you. If you are in college, have a look around the library. That will give you an idea. As for how I got these suggestions, part of them are books I referred to during my semester exams (and still following for preparation of GATE ME 2019) and the other part have been suggested by the teachers at my coaching institute. If you have any other book in mind, please feel free to suggest. Constructive criticism is always welcome.