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Complex Engineering System Leaning through Study of Engineering Cases using 3D Animations

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.355.1 - 22.355.16



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Paper Authors


Zhigang Shen University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Dr. Zhigang Shen is an assistant professor of the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He received his Ph.D. in Construction (2007) and M.S in Computer Engineering (2003) from the University of Florida. He had been worked as an architect in Shanghai, China before he moved to the United States. Dr. Shen is the recipient of several federal research grants, from NSF, EPA and DOE. He has many years industry experience in design and construction of large-scale complex building projects in both US and China. His current research focuses on 1) innovative construction engineering education using computer simulations and animations; 2) energy efficient buildings using renewable energy

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Yimin Zhu Florida International University

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Dr. Yimin Zhu received his Ph.D. degree in 1999 from the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction at the University of Florida. He is an associate professor in the Department of Construction Management at Florida International University (FIU), where he taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses and performed research in the area of information science and applications to construction. His research was funded by various agencies including National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Electri International (EI), and General Services Administration (GSA). He has published more than fifty technical articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. He served as a reviewer for several academic journals and as the vice-chair of the Database and Information Management Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

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Complex System Leaning through Study of Failure Cases using 3D Animations Complex engineering systems often involve multidiscipline teams with conflictinginterests. Failing to understand the complex relationships among the system may result inserious engineering failure. In engineering education, the difficulty to teach complex system isthe lack of effective tools to demonstrate the complex dynamics, especially spatial-temporalrelated ones. Structural designs mainly focus on the behavior of structures under design loadsspecified for operating stage. Less attention are given to the dynamic load during variousconstruction stages. It is critical to appreciate the behavior under dynamic load conditions ofpartial structures during construction. For example, there were cases of I-girder bridges thatcollapsed during construction due to inadequate considerations of the load dynamics duringconstruction. Many factors affect construction transient loads were not technical. Rather, they aremanagement related such as construction sequence. Thus, enabling construction students tounderstand the full picture of impacts from technical and non-technical aspects is critical to avoidsimilar mistakes. Based on the case-based and problem-based learning theory, the authors explored usingcomputer simulation of failure cases to help construction engineering and management studentsdevelop a better understand of the dynamics between design and construction. In this study, acase about a high-rise residential building was used. The building collapsed due to many factors,such as improper construction sequence, poor selection of staging area, bad weather, and lack ofshoring of foundation wall. Through this case, computer simulation illustrated the interactions ofelements of different systems, including building, nature and the social-economic system, andhow and why the interactions eventually led to a failure. To better understand the complexity ofconstruction systems, information that was presented by the simulation was organized based onthe structure-behavior-function theory. In addition, this paper also discussed the technology usedin the case study and simulation and the application of such simulation in construction education. The assessment method is to compare the learning results of students between the controlgroup and the experimental group, on the structure, behavior and function concepts on complexengineering systems.

Shen, Z., & Zhu, Y. (2011, June), Complex Engineering System Leaning through Study of Engineering Cases using 3D Animations Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17636

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