Articles in this book examine various materials and how to determine directly the limit state of a structure, in the sense of limit analysis and shakedown analysis. Apart from classical applications in mechanical and civil engineering contexts, the book reports on the emerging field of material design beyond the elastic limit, which has further industrial design and technological applications. Readers will discover that “Direct Methods” and the techniques presented here can in fact be used to numerically estimate the strength of structured materials such as composites or nano-materials, which represent fruitful fields of future applications. Leading researchers outline the latest computational tools and optimization techniques and explore the possibility of obtaining information on the limit state of a structure whose post-elastic loading path and constitutive behavior are not well defined or well known. Readers will discover how Direct Methods allow rapid and direct access to requested information in mathematically constructive manners without cumbersome step-by-step computation. Both researchers already interested or involved in the field and practical engineers who want to have a panorama of modern methods for structural safety assessment will find this book valuable. It provides the reader with the latest developments and a significant amount of references on the topic.