The Engineering of Structures Around Us

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In this introductory course, you’ll learn some engineering principles that can be applied to structural systems everywhere: in nature, in furniture, in mechanical and aerospace systems, and in any solid object that resists a load.

Together we’ll explore how structures work, why they were designed the way they were designed, how they support loads, and where forces flow through them.

More specifically we’ll:

  • Learn about funicular forms and how ropes and cables resist tension.
  • Discuss how columns, arches, and anti-funicular forms resist compression.
  • Discover how trusses, beams and walls resist loads. • Sketch the flow of forces through structures.
  • Compare and contrast different structural forms and systems to answer a range of questions such as: Why might an engineer choose a beam over a truss? How do the dimensions of a structure affect its response? How do engineers choose forms and systems to create structures that are both elegant and functional?

Join us in exploring the engineering of structures around us.

The main course image, Kurilpa Bridge credited to: Alastair Smith, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0