" This course provides students with a basic knowledge of structural analysis and design for buildings, bridges and other structures. The course emphasizes the historical development of structural form and the evolution of structural design knowledge, from Gothic cathedrals to long span suspension bridges. Students will investigate the behavior of structural systems and elements through design exercises, case studies, and load testing of models. Students will design structures using timber, masonry, steel, and concrete and will gain an appreciation of the importance of structural design today, with an emphasis on environmental impact of large scale construction."
Search Results (14)
In this unit of study students learn about different types of bridges and how to design and build their own bridge. This unit integrates nine STEM attributes and was developed as part of the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership's Teacher Leadership Team. Any instructional materials are included within this unit of study.
In the world in which we live, individuals are faced with technological challenges that were perhaps never anticipated or envisioned. Forty years ago, no one could have anticipated the challenges and opportunities that cell phones bring, let alone text messaging. At times, we are faced with design challenges that require us to think “outside the box” and use creative design processes rather than relying on just one possible solution. Specifically, structures are designed with a particular purpose, environment, life span, and culture in mind. Engineers must weigh these factors to produce optimal designs.
Engineering and designers regularly keep a design journal. Documentation of design thinking strategies, through sketches, notes, and diagrams, is an important aspect of the creation of an engineering design journal.
Students identify different bridge designs and construction materials used in modern day engineering. They work in construction teams to create paper bridges and spaghetti bridges based on existing bridge designs. Students progressively realize the importance of the structural elements in each bridge. They also measure vertical displacements under the center of the spaghetti bridge span when a load is applied. Vertical deflection is measured using a LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT intelligent brick and ultrasonic sensor. As they work, students experience tension and compression forces acting on structural elements of the two bridge prototypes. In conclusion, students discuss the material properties of paper and spaghetti and compare bridge designs with performance outcomes.
Students learn how to use wind energy to combat gravity and create lift by creating their own tetrahedral kites capable of flying. They explore different tetrahedron kite designs, learning that the geometry of the tetrahedron shape lends itself well to kites and wings because of its advantageous strength-to-weight ratio. Then they design their own kites using drinking straws, string, lightweight paper/plastic and glue/tape. Student teams experience the full engineering design cycle as if they are aeronautical engineers—they determine the project constraints, research the problem, brainstorm ideas, select a promising design and build a prototype; then they test and redesign to achieve a successful flying kite. Pre/post quizzes and a worksheet are provided.
Introduction to statics and the mechanics of deformable solids. Emphasis on the three basic principles of equilibrium, geometric compatibility, and material behavior. Stress and its relation to force and moment; strain and its relation to displacement; linear elasticity with thermal expansion. Failure modes. Application to simple engineering structures such as rods, shafts, beams, and trusses. Application to design. Introduction to material selection. This course provides an introduction to the mechanics of solids with applications to science and engineering. We emphasize the three essential features of all mechanics analyses, namely: (a) the geometry of the motion and/or deformation of the structure, and conditions of geometric fit, (b) the forces on and within structures and assemblages; and (c) the physical aspects of the structural system (including material properties) which quantify relations between the forces and motions/deformation.
Students take a close look at truss structures, the geometric shapes that compose them, and the many variations seen in bridge designs in use every day. Through a guided worksheet, students draw assorted 2D and 3D polygon shapes and think through their forms and interior angles (mental “testing”) before and after load conditions are applied. They see how engineers add structural members to polygon shapes to support them under compression and tension, and how triangles provide the strongest elemental shape. A PowerPoint® presentation is provided. This lesson prepares students for two associated activities that continue the series on polygons and trusses.
Students learn about the role engineers play in designing and building truss structures. Simulating a real-world civil engineering challenge, student teams are tasked to create strong and unique truss structures for a local bridge. They design to address project constraints, including the requirement to incorporate three different polygon shapes, and follow the steps of the engineering design process. They use hot glue and Popsicle sticks to create their small-size bridge prototypes. After compressive load tests, they evaluate their results and redesign for improvement. They collect, graph and analyze before/after measurements of interior angles to investigate shape deformation. A PowerPoint® presentation, design worksheet and data collection sheet are provided. This activity is the final step in a series on polygons and trusses.
Students experience the engineering design process as they design and build accurate and precise catapults using common materials. They use their catapults to participate in a game in which they launch Ping-Pong balls to attempt to hit various targets.
Working as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a truss pattern of their own design, while meeting the design criteria and constraints. They experiment with different geometric shapes and determine how shapes affect the strength of materials. Let the competition begin!
In this activity, students learn about creating a design directly from a CAD (computer-aided design) program. They will design a tower in CAD and manufacture the parts with a laser cutter. A competition determines the tower design with the best strength:weight ratio. Students also investigate basic structural truss concepts and stress concentrations. Partnership with a local college or manufacturing center is necessary for the completion of this project.
Students learn about regular polygons and the common characteristics of regular polygons. They relate their mathematical knowledge of these shapes to the presence of these shapes in the human-made structures around us, especially trusses. Through a guided worksheet and teamwork, students explore the idea of dividing regular polygons into triangles, calculating the sums of angles in polygons using triangles, and identifying angles in shapes using protractors. They derive equations 1) for the sum of interior angles in a regular polygon, and 2) to find the measure of each angle in a regular n-gon. This activity extends students’ knowledge to engineering design and truss construction. This activity is the middle step in a series on polygons and trusses, and prepares students for the Polygon and Popsicle Trusses associated activity.
Students learn about the fundamental strength of different shapes, illustrating why structural engineers continue to use the triangle as the structural shape of choice. Examples from everyday life are introduced to show how this shape is consistently used for structural strength. Along with its associated activity, this lesson empowers students to explore the strength of trusses made with different triangular elements to evaluate the various structural properties.
Students work within constraints to construct model trusses and then test them to failure as a way to evaluate the relative strength of different truss configurations and construction styles. Each student group uses Popsicle sticks and hot glue to build a different truss configuration from a provided diagram of truss styles. Within each group, each student builds two exact copies of the team's truss configuration using his/her own construction method, one of which is tested under shear conditions and the other tested under compression conditions. Results are compiled and reviewed as a class to analyze the strength of different types of shapes and construction methods under the two types of loads. Students make and review predictions, and normalize strengths. Teams give brief presentations to recap their decisions, results and analysis.