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Use Of Spreadsheets With Scaled Graphics To Teach Structural Engineering

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Curriculum Development in Civil and Architectural Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count

18

Page Numbers

12.1529.1 - 12.1529.18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1689

Download Count

465

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Paper Authors

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Jorge Tito-Izquierdo University of Houston-Downtown

biography

Alberto Gomez-Rivas University of Houston-Downtown

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Alberto Gomez-Rivas is Professor of Structural Analysis and Chair of Engineering Technology. Dr. Gomez-Rivas received Ph.D. degrees from the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, in Civil Engineering and from Rice University, Houston, Texas, in Economics. He received the Ingeniero Civil degree, with Honors, from the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. He also served as Chief of Colombia’s Department of Transportation Highway Bridge Division

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

Use of Spreadsheets with Scaled Graphics to Teach Structural Engineering

Abstract

Engineering is a profession where graphical presentation is very important in understanding and verifying results. Geometric proportions, spacing, and other features can be clearly perceived if a scaled graph is displayed together with the calculations, and thus, the engineering student can make better decisions about the final design. Overall, these spreadsheets with graphical capabilities help the learning process.

The use of Excel spreadsheets in engineering education and professional practice is frequent because this tool is versatile and powerful. However, a deficiency of spreadsheets is the lack of graphic representation. This may be solved by using the programming tools of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) that is included in the package of Microsoft Office. This paper presents a method to include scaled graphs into a spreadsheet, which completes the engineering calculations and helps in the final decision to accept or modify a design. These graphs are also useful in the drafting process, because the graphs can be easily transferred into any computer assisted drafting (CAD) program. Several actual class examples are included.

Introduction

Spreadsheets are frequently used as helpful tools during the structural design process, especially when the final outcome involves assumptions that require verification including design of beams, columns, channel sections, retaining walls, and footings, between others. Engineering is a profession where graphical presentation is very important in understanding and verifying results. Also, geometric proportions, spacing, and other features can be clearly perceived if a scaled graph is displayed on the spreadsheet, and thus, the engineer can make better decisions about the final design.

The use of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets in engineering education and professional practice is frequent because this tool is versatile and powerful. However, a deficiency of spreadsheets is the lack of geometric presentation graphics and therefore, understanding of the results. This may be solved by using the programming tools of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) that is included with the standard package of Microsoft Office1.

This paper outlines one method to include scaled graphs into a spreadsheet; this graph presentation completes the engineering calculations and helps in the final decision to accept or modify a design. These graphs are also useful in the drafting process, because the graphs can be copy-pasted into any computer assisted drafting (CAD) program. Several actual class examples are included.

Prior to running the VBA program, the drawing data is listed and organized on the spreadsheet. VBA can then be accessed using a command button. The program follows a routine, consisting of reading the geometric data and desired scale, the location where the drawing will be

Tito-Izquierdo, J., & Gomez-Rivas, A. (2007, June), Use Of Spreadsheets With Scaled Graphics To Teach Structural Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1689

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