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A Pre-capstone Junior-level Structural and Materials Design Project for Civil Engineering Students: Glue Laminated Timber Design

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Capstone and Collaborations in Civil Engineering

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Nicholas Andres Brake Lamar University Orcid 16x16

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Nicholas Brake is currently an Assistant Professor in the civil and environmental department at Lamar University. He received his B.S. (2005), M.S. (2008), and Ph.D. (2012) from Michigan State University. His area of expertise is in cementitious composites which includes: fracture and fatigue mechanics of quasi-brittle materials, recycled concrete, conductive concrete, reinforced concrete, pervious concrete, geopolymer, and structural dynamics. He currently teaches a wide array of courses that includes statics, reinforced concrete design, structural analysis, and materials engineering. Dr. Brake actively integrates project based and peer assisted learning pedagogies into his curriculum.

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Senior level civil engineering students in our department often struggle in the early stages of their capstone senior design project because of their unfamiliarity with building codes and design philosophies, and often lack an ability to solve open-ended design problems. Introducing students to design philosophies, building codes, and some simplified design projects in their junior year can help in their preparation for their capstone project by enhancing their confidence, preparedness, and capacity to solve open-ended engineering design problems. In this evidence-based paper, the impact of a junior-level pre-capstone design project involving the design and optimization a glue laminated timber beam is discussed. The project required junior-level students to calculate the wind, live, and dead loads per ASCE 7-10, use software (STAADPro) to calculate the determine the structural demand, conduct knot timber surveys, determine strength modification factors per ASTM D3737, design the structural members per 2015 AWC national design specifications for wood construction, construct and test a small-scale glulam beam, and develop an oral presentation to summarize the results. After completion of the project, students were found to have relatively high engineering self-efficacy, motivation, and expectancy. The students who completed the pre-capstone project also indicated more curricular emphasis was placed on engineering design and the building codes compared to recent graduates who were not given the project. The students were also found to have higher levels of confidence in engineering design and ability to use tools to solve modern engineering problems.

Brake, N. A. (2016, June), A Pre-capstone Junior-level Structural and Materials Design Project for Civil Engineering Students: Glue Laminated Timber Design Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26402

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