Asee peer logo

Design Of Structures: An Introduction To Civil Engineering

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.339.1 - 6.339.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Brenda Martin

author page

J. P. Mohsen

Download Paper |

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

Session 1815

Design of Structures: An Introduction to Civil Engineering Brenda Martin, J.P. Mohsen, PhD AMATROL, Inc./University of Louisville


Many post-secondary schools are instituting freshman level engineering courses that utilize a hands-on teaching methodology so the students can relate to the highly theoretical courses they will take later in their program. The difficulty many institutions are facing is in finding a complete, compact, easy to use lab apparatus for teaching civil engineering concepts, such as statics and concrete, and structures, such as bridges and buildings. In response to these needs, a system and curriculum were developed that can be used to discuss and demonstrate these concepts. This system is divided into seven sub-modules: Introduction to Civil Engineering, Structural Design Concepts, Statics and Beam Mechanics, Beam Deflection and Column Buckling, Introduction to Concrete, Bridge Design and Construction, and Building Design and Construction. A compact, self-contained system, the Design of Structures system demonstrates concepts such as axial forces, stress, strain, bending moments, and deflection. The concrete portion of the system enables the students to study, mix, form, and test concrete samples. Bridges and buildings are focused on in detail with models to construct, test, and evaluate. Data is accumulated using strain gauges with a data acquisition system that includes National Instruments’ LabVIEW software. Bridge designs are evaluated for tension and compression as well as materials and costs. The Design of Structures system could easily be incorporated into physics, statics, materials, analysis, or design courses. In addition, in response to recent ASCE and ASEE initiatives to reach out and target pre-college students, the Design of Structures system can be used as a powerful tool to create excitement and enthusiasm among these students about civil engineering and civil engineering education. The system can also be used as an effective recruitment tool to introduce pre-college students to engineering concepts during Engineering Days exhibits and short summer introduction to engineering courses or camps.

In developing the curriculum, the need for certain physical models and tests was brought into focus. An existing product was modified by adding data acquisition, concrete testing, and building load apparatus. The result is a compact, self-contained, tabletop unit that is flexible enough to be used in several different courses at varying levels of engineering education. This paper describes how this system can be effectively used in a civil engineering curriculum.

I. Introduction

The Design of Structures system is designed for use in a number of civil engineering and civil engineering technology-related courses including statics, introduction to civil engineering, freshman engineering labs, strength of materials, structural analysis and design, and physics. This system is designed to provide instructors with a hands-on method of demonstrating the

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Martin, B., & Mohsen, J. P. (2001, June), Design Of Structures: An Introduction To Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9087

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015