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Capstone Projects Focused on the Evaluation of Existing Structures

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Technology Capstone Projects

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Jorge Antonio Tito P.E. University of Houston

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Jorge Tito is Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology. Dr. Tito received his Ph.D. and M.Sc. Degrees from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, in Civil Engineering with a major in Structures. He received the Civil Engineer Degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. Dr. Tito has experience in teaching, structural design, and construction management, and is a Registered Professional Engineer.

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Students of Structural Analysis and Design Engineering Technology are required to develop a capstone project covering the design theory and concepts developed in their courses. This paper presents the results of capstone projects that encompass the evaluation of existing structures, which were designed following building codes from more than 50 years ago.

The infrastructure of the US is known to be aging and needs to be assessed and updated if necessary, so future engineers need be prepared for this task. These capstone projects expose students to the challenges of reading and interpreting drawings that reflect well-made designs, but following superseded codes whose current versions are more demanding.

The projects studied and discussed in this paper are the bridge “Travis St. over Buffalo Bayou”, located in Houston, TX; and the coliseum “Roberto Clemente”, located in San Juan, PR. Students submitted a final report showing relevant details on CAD drawings, material takeoff, structural analysis, and retrofitting design and/or additional recommended studies.

The superstructure of the bridge consists of three continuous spans, two of 67 feet at the ends, and a central span of 112 feet, for a total of 246 feet. The steel beams are vertically curved and receive a seven-inch concrete slab for two traffic lanes, a pedestrian sidewalk, and safety barriers, with an overall width of 37’-6”. A commercial finite elements software is used to model the beams and slab. The applied loads are from the latest AASHTO standard, which has significant differences from the code used in the original 1968 design.

The coliseum structure consists of four reinforced concrete buttresses, a reinforced concrete perimeter beam that receives a roof system that includes four main trusses, prestressed concave and convex cables that support precast slabs grouted on site. The roof has a span of 314 ft that forms a rigid shell with a hyperbolic paraboloid surface. Students make the numerical model using a commercial finite elements software. Roof structural elements are verified to meet the latest ASCE 7 standard.

These projects have multiple educational objectives in engineering, such as practicing technical communication through drawings, written reports, and oral presentations; practice with finite elements software; and use of building codes for structural design. Students expressed interest in these projects because they feel that they are working with a situation that is real and important to society.

Tito, J. A. (2021, July), Capstone Projects Focused on the Evaluation of Existing Structures Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36781

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