Author: L. Cooper
1 October 2018
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This month's teaser from reader Richard Hollamby concerns a cantilever beam subjected to a uniform live load.
In this section we shine a spotlight on papers recently published in Structures – the Research Journal of The Institution of Structural Engineers. Structures is a collaboration between the Institution and Elsevier, publishing internationally-leading research across the full breadth of structural engineering which will benefit from wide readership by academics and practitioners. Access to Structures is free to Institution members (excluding Student members) as one of their membership benefits, with access provided via the ‘My account’ section of the Institution website. The journal is available online at: www.structuresjournal.org . This month we summarise the highlights from the August issue (Volume 15).
The early development of design skills is important for undergraduate students in structural engineering, as it provides an integrated context for their other studies and generates interest and excitement in the subject. It is equally important that students are given the freedom to experiment and generate unique design outputs so that they can start to understand their own design identity and develop good engineering judgement. This has been the focus of publications such as that by Stratford. This paper describes an innovative and integrated approach to the teaching of structural design to first-year Civil Engineering students at the University of Southampton, which has received The Institution of Structural Engineers Excellence in Structural Engineering Education Award 2018. The majority of the first-year Civil Engineering design curriculum is taught via a project called Prototype. Prototype encourages the development of design skills, processes and responsibilities, and challenges the students to develop and prototype structures in response to specific briefs. Focus is placed upon design being an iterative process, the application of fundamental structural understandings, the value of integrating prototyping, and the need for structural engineering to be appreciated as a craft that can balance and homogenise wide-ranging design factors and that can be delivered with ambition, technical skill, subtlety and joy. This paper describes the design rationale and linkages to mechanics, structures and materials. Wider design activities within the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, including recent strategic investments, are also discussed. Emphasis is placed on project outcomes.