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Interactive Physical Experiments in an Advanced Undergraduate Structural Dynamics Course

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Your Best in 5 Minutes: Demonstrations of Hands-On and Virtual In-Class Teaching Aids

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Charles D. Facciolo Daedalus Structural Engineering

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Charles Facciolo is a project engineer with Daedalus Structural Engineering where he is currently focused on high-end residential design. He received his bachelor's degree in architectural engineering with a minor in construction management from California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo. Charles is working to continually broaden his engineering knowledge in order to become a well rounded structural engineer who can provide unique solutions to challenging problems.

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Anahid Behrouzi California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo

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Anahid Behrouzi is an assistant professor of architectural engineering at California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo. She has been involved with STEM education beginning in 2003 as a volunteer and summer instructor with the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science. She has been engaged with undergraduate/graduate course delivery in the topic areas of engineering problem-solving and structural engineering at North Carolina State University (2008-2011), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2012-2015), Tufts University (2015-2016), and Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo (2016-present). She has a BS in civil engineering and BA in Spanish language & literature from North Carolina State University, and a MS/PhD in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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This paper describes a number of physical models and hands-on lab activities incorporated in an advanced undergraduate structural dynamics lecture and laboratory course pairing offered within the Architectural Engineering department at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. These course modifications were designed and implemented in the Winter 2018 quarter to enable students to:

-Collect acceleration data during free or forced vibration tests using a smartphone accelerometer application to generate data plots in Matlab; -Conduct free vibration tests on various single-degree of freedom (SDOF) systems to investigate effects of varying mass, stiffness/height, material type, and damping type (pendulum or sloshing damper) on structural period and damping behavior; -Observe and analyze data from forced vibration tests using a small-scale shake table or eccentric mass shaker for various SDOF systems, diaphragms, and multi-story frames to understand natural frequency, dynamic amplification, and mode shapes; and -Execute a parametric study using Matlab interface that animates modal and time history response of a rigid diaphragm to illustrate impacts of changing mass, geometry, or stiffness.

Students were surveyed at the end of the Winter 2018 quarter, and their responses with regards to the new physical experiments/demonstrations were largely positive. In general, they indicated that observing the dynamic response of physical structural models; collecting and processing data; and comparing the results to theoretical predictions was engaging and encourages them to develop their engineering intuition, rather than memorize equations or procedures.

Facciolo, C. D., & Behrouzi, A. (2019, June), Interactive Physical Experiments in an Advanced Undergraduate Structural Dynamics Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33002

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