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A Truss Analyzer For Enriching The Learning Experience Of Students

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.67.1 - 5.67.15



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Paper Authors

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Matthew G. Sutton

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Ing-Chang Jong

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1368

A Truss Analyzer for Enriching the Learning Experience of Students

Matthew G. Sutton, Ing-Chang Jong University of Arkansas


This paper is written to contribute a software, named WinTruss, with illustration, for analyzing trusses. The software is a resulting product of a design project by a senior student in a sequence of two courses in Creative Project Design for mechanical engineering students at the University of Arkansas. WinTruss runs on PC Windows 95 and later. Being easy-to-use, intuitive, flexible, and powerful, this software is in the process of being made available to instructors and students at Arkansas for enriching the learning experience of students in courses that involve the analysis and design of trusses. The built-in “User Name and ID” dialog box, to be filled out by the user just before submitting the input truss for computer solution, and the “time stamp” on the hard copy of the solution are special pedagogical features. These features allow an instructor to better monitor the actual computer usage by individual students as assignments in a course.

I. Introduction

In most engineering courses, the majority of time is usually devoted to the teaching and learning of a vast body of core information that emphasizes the solution of close-ended problems. This tends to leave a student skilled in analysis, but not in the art of design. An expert engineer creates through design what once was not, and skillfully quantifies the worthiness of his or her design through solid engineering analysis. The difficulty facing tomorrow’s engineers is that the problems they will be asked to solve necessitate increasing complex design solutions. Complex design solutions require even more complex design analysis. These complexities and resulting myriad of details often consort to bring about an overwhelming level of analytical complexity. Powerful software programs often have a steep learning curve because they have been generalized to solve a wide range of problems. Nevertheless, future benefits of being exposed to such software can be tremendous.

1 2−4 WinTruss is written in C++ using the Microsoft Visual C++ V6.0 compiler. Being tailored to a certain staple class of problems, namely truss analysis, much of the complexities associated with more general software programs have been eliminated. Therefore, students are free to focus the majority of their mental energy on mastering the main body of engineering knowledge, while simultaneously gaining experience in computer applications. WinTruss is intended to provide engineering students exposure to computational design analysis in easily digestible servings, and to grow with them as they progress through the engineering curriculum.


Sutton, M. G., & Jong, I. (2000, June), A Truss Analyzer For Enriching The Learning Experience Of Students Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8784

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