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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 58
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping and B. Kumar
Paper I.2

The Use of Computers in Teaching 'Real World' Structural Engineering

D.J. Easterbrook and M.Y. Rafiq

School of Civil Engineering, University of Plymouth, England

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
D.J. Easterbrook, M.Y. Rafiq, "The Use of Computers in Teaching 'Real World' Structural Engineering", in B.H.V. Topping, B. Kumar, (Editors), "Computer Techniques for Civil and Structural Engineering", Civil-Comp Press, Edinburgh, UK, pp 9-13, 1999. doi:10.4203/ccp.58.1.2
A different approach to the teaching of structural design is presented in this paper. Structural design teaching at undergraduate level is generally based on the relevant codes of practice for each material. This rigid approach to structural design often stifles undergraduates' creativity as they focus on detail rather than exploring the design space. The paper shows how a different approach, using simple real world methods and readily available spreadsheet applications, can allow the undergraduate to explore the design space and very quickly acquire knowledge which has traditionally been the domain of the experienced engineer. Examples are provided of outline design techniques based on simple rule of thumb; parametric studies of outline and full element design; and an introduction to simple optimisation techniques.

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