June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.1172.1 - 13.1172.18
Teaching Reinforced Concrete Design with Mathcad Application
Reinforced Concrete Design is typically offered as a senior-level required course in an undergraduate Civil Engineering or Civil Engineering Technology curriculum. The design of various components of a building structure is performed based on the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Building Code 318. One of the major topics covered in the course is design of beams. The design involves myriad computations to account for several aspects of the design: from determining the required strengths of the beam, to selecting an adequate beam size and the necessary amount of steel reinforcement, to checking for deflection and crack widths, to ensuring adequate development lengths for selected steel reinforcing bars. All these topics are usually covered as separate modules in traditional lecture-format instruction.
Typically code-based structural design uses trial-and-error procedure that often requires several iterations, involving tedious, repetitive calculations. Also, only a limited number of examples can be presented in the classroom due to time constraint. To circumvent the situation, a logical option is to capitalize on the computer’s abilities to compute, and interface with the user.
The purpose of this paper is to present a computer-based problem-solving courseware that has been developed to complement traditional lecture-format delivery of the Reinforced Concrete Design course to enhance student learning. The courseware consists of several interlinked modules, each addressing a different aspect for design of a beam.. The Mathcad software, which supports custom designed documents called electronic books that explain complex topics and provide reusable computational templates, has been used to develop the modules. Besides allowing for faster solution of a problem, this tool is useful for providing live math examples that promote the exploration of the underlying relationships between problem variables and solutions. Thus, the students would have a holistic view of the entire design process; more specifically, they will have a better understanding of how the different design parameters are interconnected.
The four-year ABET-accredited Civil Engineering Technology curriculum at Georgia Southern University includes a required, senior-level course in Reinforced Concrete Design. The two main objectives of the course are: (1) the students gain a thorough understanding of the fundamental principles underlying design of various structural components and the relevant stipulations in the ACI Code and (2) they correctly apply that knowledge to various practical design problems. A combination of homework and computational laboratory assignments is used for meeting the second objective. However, a significant amount of design activities is based on trial-and-error procedure that often requires several iterations, involving tedious, repetitive calculations. Also, only a limited number of examples can be presented in the classroom due to time constraint. To circumvent the situation, a logical option is to capitalize on the computer’s abilities to compute, display graphics, and interface with the user, letting students focus on substantive issues and thereby engage in additional problem-solving for varied scenarios, outside the classroom at their own pace.
Das, N. (2008, June), Teaching Reinforced Concrete Design With Mathcad Application Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3806
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