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Multimedia Simulation Tool For Steel Tension Member Analysis And Design

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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

6.739.1 - 6.739.17

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Paper Authors

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Christopher Pionke

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Christopher Williams

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Karen Chou

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

Session 2793

Multimedia Simulation Tool for Steel Tension Member Analysis and Design

Christopher A. Williams, Karen C. Chou, Christopher D. Pionke Merit Auto/University of Tennessee


This paper presents a multimedia simulation tool that allows for the investigation of steel tensile member connection analysis and design. The motivation behind the creation of this software is to meet the needs of students and their different learning styles for the education of tensile member connections. A computer aided teaching tool called Tension Connection Analyzer was developed to serve both students and instructors as a supplemental device for the topic of steel tensile member analysis and design. The intent of the software is to enhance the student’s ability to visualize the failure modes that exist in steel tension member connected systems. The overall objective of the software is to produce an aide to improve the classroom experience, while at the same time allow students to develop a feel for steel tension member design outside of the classroom.

1 Introduction

Simulation allows for real time evaluation to be performed in given systems through the use of computer-aided design. In the area of education, simulation has the ability to enhance topic comprehension without causing an increase in necessary lecture time. Yet, while the positive aspects of simulations and computer aided design (CAD) are recognized by educators, topic specific educational software packages remain small in number. Among the software developed for civil engineering education in recent years, the West Point Bridge Designer1 developed by Dr. S. Resseler at the West Point is perhaps the most popular, most widely known engineering design software for education purpose. Although the software was developed intending for outreach to middle to high school students, it has attracted the attention of college students and faculty as well. The software also helps set the benchmark as what an educational software should be.

The motivation in developing the Tension Connection Analyzer was that of enhancing the student’s ability to visualize the failure modes that exist in steel tension member connected systems. The specifications for tensile member connections, found in the American Institute of Steel Construction’s (AISC) Load and Resistance Factored Design (LRFD) manual2, require a knowledge of the grades of steel, member cross sections, bolts, etc. in order to investigate the functionality of a particular connection. Furthermore, each connection has a potential to fail in

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

Pionke, C., & Williams, C., & Chou, K. (2001, June), Multimedia Simulation Tool For Steel Tension Member Analysis And Design Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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