A New Way of Teaching Structural Engineering With the `AN/EX' Mini-Laboratory

by Richard A. Behr, Univ of Missouri-Rolla,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Structures Congress XII


Students in the AN/EX lab first use a custom-written preprocessor to generate a proper input file to run the professional-level M-STRUDL structural analysis program to predict the load response of their small-scale structural model (a frame, truss, etc.). The M-STRUDL program is executed in the background and the predicted behaviors of the structural model are stored. Next, the students are guided through a rigorous, step-by-step data acquisition sequence that measures and records the precise physical responses of their model to the applied loads. Immediately thereafter, the M-STRUDL analytical results are compared with the experimental data. Sometimes, the results compared with the experimental data. Sometimes, the results compare very closely; more often, they do not! The challenge then remains to explain and rectify the differences. The AN/EX process teaches students to question and interpret results, to avoid blind faith in either theoretical calculations, computer output, or experimental data. Included in this poser session demonstration will be an operating AN/EX station that will be on display for Structure Congress participates to inspect.

Subject Headings: Data collection | Structural engineering | Load factors | Structural behavior | Structural analysis | Engineering education | Computer software | Scale models

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