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Dr. Graham Owens (Imperial College of Science & Technology): As the person responsible for the development of the testing arrangements for the large-scale model I would like to say a few words about the particular difficulties of applying hydrostatic loading for a test to failure on a model of this scale and shape.
In order to gain a historical perspective of Associate-Membership, it is useful to look back a few years. Until the 1960s the Institution’s membership had followed a single stream and progression through the various classes, whether drawn from university graduate or non-graduate academic backgrounds. At that time, trends in engineering education and the growing support for the policy that corporate members of chartered institutions should almost exclusively be graduate were, together, to lead to a considerable change in the Institution’s recruitment pattern. Many young engineers (and indeed some not so young!) had been following part-time courses leading to Higher National Certificates, often with endorsement subjects, but this route to chartered status was then to be closed. A transition period of 4 or 5 years was followed, in which to qualify in this way. Those who failed to do so, and all those who have subsequently followed this course, have found a ‘bridge’ possible into the chartered route only via the CEI direct examinations (now the Engineering Council equivalent) which has proved to be very tough and very little used in structural engineering. David Lazenby
Some aspects of finite element analysis were referred to by Mr N. Prabhakar in August last year. Dr. W. B. Cranston of the Cement & Concrete Association has now drawn our attention to the existence of the National Agency for Finite Element Methods and Standards, since the Agency may not be known to many of our readers; Dr. Cranston points out that few members of the Agency are organisations in the construction industry. We were therefore pleased to have a letter a week or two later from Mr W. M. Mair, the chairman of NAFEMS, giving us much more information. He writes: I have read with interest the recent correspondence in your columns regarding the use of finite element methods in the design of structures. The most recent contribution from Mr Kaplish of the Property Services Agency in Croydon points out that no two FE programs will produce identical results for the same problem and concludes that the quality of some of the elements marketed is suspect. He also asks about information on an agency which sets standards for finite elements and promotes good FE analysis. The National Agency for Finite Element Methods and Standards was instituted in 1983 to tackle the problems that have been highlighted in this correspondence. Verulam