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Undergraduate Student Research in Blast Simulation of Wide Flange Steel Columns

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2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference


Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Publication Date

April 7, 2017

Start Date

April 7, 2017

End Date

April 8, 2017

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Paper Authors


Yongwook Kim Manhattan College

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Dr. Kim is an assistant professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Manhattan College since 2014. He has taught structural engineering courses, such as Statics, Structural Analysis and Steel Design.

Prior to joining Manhattan College, he has more than 15 years of industry experience in engineering, design and analysis of a wide variety of structural engineering problems. He was a project manager and a lead engineer for various engineering projects. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan.

As part of his doctorate research, he has performed numerous non-linear analyses for aluminum structures and verified his research through experiments. His research findings were incorporated in the Specification for Aluminum Structures (US).

Dr. Kim’s research interests include analysis and design of aluminum & cold-formed steel structures; blast and dynamic impact analysis for security structures; flood mitigation design subjected to hurricanes and other natural disasters.

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Salvatore Florio


Qian Wang P.E. Manhattan College

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Dr. Qian Wang is an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Manhattan College. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) with ten years of experience in various types of public and private projects. His structural engineering experience includes large-scale and complex projects from high-rise buildings to long-span structures. Dr. Wang’s research interests are in structures, mechanics and materials, including reliability analysis and design optimization, multi-hazard and multi-physics analysis, crash and impact analysis, resilient and sustainable structures, and engineering education.

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It is generally a challenging task for undergraduate students to deliver meaningful results out of any independent research course within one or two semester time frame. This is due to lack of knowledge, time management, and new learning experience, which is different from traditional lecture style courses. A new research project was proposed at Manhattan College to analyze and study behavior of steel structures subjected to close-range detonations. The study was motivated by the reality that many steel structures are exposed to public spaces and the protection of these structures against close-range blast effects is a major concern to engineers and facility owners, while no building code requirements or procedures are present at the moment. The blast analysis involves both highly non-linear finite element analysis based on solid mechanics and computational fluid dynamics. The theoretical backgrounds of the analysis are mathematically intense and require knowledges from several graduate level courses.

To engage undergraduate students in a highly technical and theoretical research project, a new pedagogy is needed; a guided learning component shall be more utilized than an independent learning component in the undergraduate research. In this work, discussions are provided about how a one-semester undergraduate-level independent study course at Manhattan College was used to successfully perform the research; and how undergraduate students were able to learn the fundamentals of highly technical theories to run finite element software and to perform various parametric studies of numerical simulations within a relatively short time period. Careful planning and multiple steps taken for this research course before, during, and after the semester are discussed. Some technical findings by students in collaboration with the instructors are included. This research course provided a new learning experience to undergraduate students, and opportunities for instructors to expand the research with the aid of the students.

Kim, Y., & Florio, S., & Wang, Q. (2017, April), Undergraduate Student Research in Blast Simulation of Wide Flange Steel Columns Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.

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