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Using The Aisc Steel Building Case Study In A Structural Engineering Course Sequence

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Technical Issues in Architectural Engineering I

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1569.1 - 12.1569.7



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Paper Authors


Hector Estrada University of the Pacific

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Dr. Hector Estrada is Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of the Pacific. He has held positions at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Vanderbilt University.

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

Using the AISC Steel Building Case Study in a Structural Engineering Course Sequence


The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) has made available a case study of a steel building; complete with detailed design calculations for loads and design of the structural frame. The material also includes numerous photos of the construction process, detailed plans (in AutoCAD), animations of some design concepts that are difficult to explain (such as local buckling), and a virtual three-dimensional model of the entire frame system, which can be viewed from any vantage point. The virtual 3D model also includes detailed connections. This tool has been incorporated in the structural engineering course sequence for civil and architectural engineering students. The sequence includes: statics, mechanics of materials, structural analysis, structural steel design, and a capstone design course. This paper presents the details of how the entire steel building case study has been incorporated into the teaching of the structural engineering course sequence, from statics to the capstone design course. In statics, building loads are discussed, which can be illustrated with some of the animations included in the AISC material. In mechanics of materials, connection failure animations are incorporated. The topic of loads is covered in detail in the structural analysis course, where several of the visual aids are used to illustrate difficult concepts, such as tributary area. Once the loads are established, students are asked to perform the analysis of the building frame. Design of different members of the building frame (bracing, beams, columns, connections) is covered in the structural steel design course. Finally, the entire system is covered in the capstone design course. These types of tools are very useful because they provide students with a “real world” case to study throughout their structural engineering training. Results obtained from the end of class student evaluations have not changed significantly since the introduction of the case study in the structural engineering course sequence; however, the students have made a number of positive comments regarding the use of these materials in the course evaluation surveys.


Structural engineering is an integral part of most civil and architectural engineering programs across the United States. The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) has developed a basic education curriculum to prepare a structural engineer for practice. This basic curriculum includes coursework in analysis, matrix methods, steel design, and six other areas (Barnes, 2004). NCSEA also conducted a survey of the national structural engineering curriculum and found that most institutions that responded (105 programs) offer courses in the areas specified in the basic education curriculum for a structural engineer; and although a number of programs offer the full curriculum, most programs do not require students to take the full curriculum specified to be certified as a structural engineer. However, steel design is one of the most popular areas covered at most of the institutions surveyed.

Estrada, H. (2007, June), Using The Aisc Steel Building Case Study In A Structural Engineering Course Sequence Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2290

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