Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering
This “Best in 5-Minutes” presentation will detail a lecture given in a senior level reinforced concrete design class titled “Is The Whole Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts? – Aristotle’s Insight into the Mechanics of Reinforced Concrete”. The purpose of this lecture is to allow the students to understand how the composite nature of a reinforce concrete beam allows for its flexural strength (the whole) to be much greater than just the sum of the flexural strengths of the unreinforced concrete and steel reinforcement (its parts). This lecture begins by the instructor bringing a portion of a reinforced concrete beam into the classroom, having the students physically measure the relevant dimensions, and posing the question: “Is the whole (flexural strength) greater than the sum of its parts?”. The class then works in groups of 4-5 students to decide how they are going to answer the question. The instructor circulates around the room and guides the students through the calculations necessary to prove that the strength of the whole is indeed greater than the sum of the parts. The instructor them concludes the lecture by discussing the engineering mechanics behind why the flexural strength of a reinforced concrete beam is significantly higher than the sum of the flexural strengths of the unreinforced concrete beam and the steel reinforcement. Later in the semester is it pointed out to the students that this is not true for other types of reinforced concrete structural members, such as axially loaded columns and in the analysis of reinforced concrete beams for shear, where the strength of the reinforced concrete is calculated as merely the sum of the strength of the unreinforced concrete and steel reinforcement.
Hochstein, D. (2020, June), Mechanics of Reinforced Concrete Beams – The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34965
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