Photoelasticity has been used recently by the authors to conduct
many tests related to the determination of stresses in the field of tall beams
and to the optimization of those beams. Numerical methods (in particular,
finite elements and solutions of Laplace's equation) have also been used
to supplement or verify the results obtained photoelastically. This paper
deals with selected aspects of some of the results obtained and evaluates
the advantages and disadvantages of the methods used in the solution of
the particular problems addressed.