The aim of the sponsors of the 9th Pan
American Congress of Applied Mechanics (PACAM IX) was to
promote progress in the broad field of mechanics by (1)
exposing mature engineers and scientists, as well as advanced
graduate students, to new research findings, techniques, and
problems, and (2) providing opportunities for personal
interactions through formal presentations and informal
conversations. The meetings are traditionally held every two
years in a Latin American venue, at a time when few other
conferences are scheduled. The previous Congresses were held
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1989); Valparaíso, Chile (1991);
São Paulo, Brazil (1993); Buenos Aires, Argentina (1995); San
Juan, Puerto Rico (1997); Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1999);
Temuco, Chile (2002); and Havana, Cuba (2004).
PACAM IX was held at the Fiesta Americana
Hotel in Mérida, Mexico, from January 2--6, 2006, and was
cosponsored by the American Academy of Mechanics; the US
National Science Foundation; the Air Force Office of
Scientific Research; Universidad Nacional Autónoma de
México's Instituto de Ingeniería, Instituto de
Investigaciones en Matemáticas Aplicadas y en Sistemas,
Centro de Ciencias Físicas, Coordinación de la Investigación
Científica, Facultad de Ingeniería, Instituto de Física; and
Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán's Facultad de Ingeniería,
Facultad de Matemáticas; and CINVESTAV, Mérida, Yucatán.
Approximately 75 attendees from 20 countries enjoyed a very
productive and collegial meeting in Mérida.
Following the PACAM IX meeting the
organizers invited authors of selected talks to submit
full-length articles on the matter of their presentation.
These papers were then subjected to the normal peer review
and editorial process of the Journal of Mechanics of
Materials and Structures. This special issue is the
collection of the accepted papers.
Finally, we thank the Editor-in-Chief and
Associate Editor of JoMMS, Charles and Marie-Louise Steele,
for giving us the great opportunity to organize this special
issue. We thank the contributing authors for their excellent
papers and also the anonymous reviewers, who helped immensely
in shaping this special issue.