TEACHING

The design of structures requires calculations of displacements and internal forces, moments, and/or stresses in structural components. This course focuses on modern matrix analysis methods that are inherently geared for computer implementation.  The overall goals of the course are to develop an understanding of the structural analysis theory that is necessary to be a judicious and effective user of computer software. The course culminates with students writing their own computer program to perform structural analysis of three-dimensional frame structures.

Structural systems are designed to withstand a pre-defined set of loading conditions. When loaded, a structure will respond based on the magnitude of the applied load and the strength and stiffness of the structure. Various criteria are embedded in the design process to ensure that the structure responds in a satisfactory manner. Each criterion can be referred to as a limit state and the “violation” of that limit state is considered a “failure”. This course is focused on assessing the likelihood of structural failure recognizing that uncertainties are unavoidable. The course culminates with a competitive project where students are tasked with making resource allocation decisions for an infrastructure system based on the results obtained from applying the performance-based earthquake engineering methodology.

All structural behavior is inherently nonlinear, although in many cases, linear elastic analysis provides a good approximation. Although design codes allow linear elastic analysis, they typically apply some sort of correction, anticipating nonlinear structural behavior. Nonlinear structural analysis allows us to explicitly account for expected geometric and material nonlinearities. It takes us one step closer to representing true structural behavior, at least those behavior modes that need to be considered in design. The focus of this course is on nonlinear analysis (geometric and material) techniques for frame and truss structures and using matrix methods. The course culminates with students writing their own computer program to perform nonlinear structural analysis of two-dimensional frame structures.

Built infrastructure systems are critical to the functionality of communities. A community that is resilient to natural hazards can minimize the initial impacts, adapt to and quickly recover from a natural hazard event. This course provides undergraduate students with an introduction to the concept of resilience as it relates to minimizing the immediate and lasting impact of natural hazard events on communities. It culminates with a mini-project where student-groups are tasked with setting performance targets for specific built systems (buildings, energy, water, transportation, and natural gas) based on their role in supporting community functionality.