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I am trying to use mathematica to solve the following system of equation, but I can not for the life of me get it to work. I have the following:

Stiffness = ((Y*A)/L )*{{1, -1, 0, 0}, {-1, 2, -1, 0}, {0, -1, 
 2, -1}, {0, 0, -1, 1}} // MatrixForm

Displacements = {{0}, {a}, {b}, {0}} // MatrixForm

Force = {{x}, {(7*L^3 )/162}, {(10*L^3)/81}, {y}} // MatrixForm

I need to solve:

Stiffness * Displacements = Force

When I use LinearSolve it just spits back the input command. I need to solve for a, b, x, and y. Thanks for the help.

share|improve this question
I find your question a duplicate of at least a few another ones, e.g. How to Solve or LinearSolve A=I matrix equation?. In any case you can do: Solve[ Stiffness[[1]].Displacements[[1]] == Force[[1]], {a, b, x, y}] yielding {{a -> (17 L^4)/(243 A Y), b -> (47 L^4)/(486 A Y), x -> -((17 L^3)/243), y -> -((47 L^3)/486)}}. Incorrect usage: * and =, use . and == respectively i.e. (Dot and Equal) instead of Times and Set. – Artes Jan 22 '14 at 2:28
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are a few things wrong with the code: MatrixForm is just for display, you have extra brackets in the lists, use dot . for matrix multiplication, double equals == to define an equation, and you need to ask it to solve for the desired variables:

Stiffness = ((Y*A)/L)*{{1, -1, 0, 0}, {-1, 2, -1, 0}, {0, -1, 2, -1}, {0, 0, -1, 1}};
Displacements = {0, a, b, 0};
Force = {x, (7*L^3)/162, (10*L^3)/81, y};
Solve[Stiffness.Displacements == Force, {a, b, x, y}]

{{a -> (17 L^4)/(243 A Y), b -> (47 L^4)/(486 A Y), 
  x -> -((17 L^3)/243), y -> -((47 L^3)/486)}}
share|improve this answer
Thanks for answering the question on both sites, I forgot to delete the one over on StackOverflow after I posted here. I figured this place was more fitting. – mborland Jan 24 '14 at 21:10

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