Modeling, Behaviour Prediction, and Control – Tripartite Essentials of Contemporary Structural Engineering Education
Computers have today permeated every sphere of human endeavour and structural engineering is no exception. Multiply-hyperstatic structures which relatively recently took teams of structural engineers several months to analyse can now be elegantly analysed in a matter of seconds using computers equipped with readily available and userfriendly analysis/design software. This paper examined the contemporary structural engineer and the shift his education must accommodate in order for his relevance not to diminish in the face of the new realities posed by the computer. The results of the study showed that there should now be an orientation shift in the education of the structural engineer. More time should now be apportioned to learning the intricacies of structural modeling, understanding structural behaviour, and controlling same to achieve the desired design objective. On the other hand, although the classical analysis methods should still be taught, the time allocated to them should now be significantly reduced. Examples were given for quantitative illustration of the issues involved. In conclusion, the paper argued that the above three essentials should form the cornerstone of modern structural engineering education.
Keywords: Analysis, Design, Modeling, Structural Behaviour, Control, Approximate Methods.
African Research Review Vol. 2 (3) 2008: pp. 1-20
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