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First Year Structural Design Project

Overall Co-ordinator: Dr J Talbot(email:
Timing: Throughout the academic year

Features of the Structural Design course are:

(a) Undergraduates work in pairs to design, build and test to destruction a light- weight truss with a span of about 1 m.

(b) Each student will be issued with a lab. book. All calculations, rough sketches etc. should be recorded in this lab. book.

(c) Each pair will design their structure in detail, and make their working drawings in pencil on cartridge paper. The drawings will be handed in. They will be displayed in the workshop ready for the fabrication afternoons. The drawings must be handed in with the completed structure before the indicated deadline.

(d) Undergraduates will make their structures in the workshop under the supervision of a senior technician. Published workshop times must be observed. No students will be allowed in the workshop at times other than 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the five programmed days.

(e) If other commitments clash with timetabled periods for structural design workshop sessions, the latter takes precedence.

(f) The completed structure will be costed by the undergraduates.

(g) The structures will be tested to destruction. The testing will be carried out in descending order of 'cost'. Each group will make an oral presentation of their structure before it is tested.

(h) Each individual student will write a report in his or her lab. book, starting at the other end from the rough calculations and sketches. This report should include the following:

The report should be concise and must be handed in by the stipulated time.

(i) The total number of marks available for the structural design course is 42.
These will be divided as follows:

Each of the three sections has its own qualifying mark, totalling 28 out of a possible 42.

Exceptional work attracts 42 marks, satisfactory work 35 marks, and minimally acceptable work 28 marks.

Each individual will be marked on the overall contribution in design, drawing and fabrication that has been made to the Group's structure, as well as on the quality of the individual report. The concept of the design, the accuracy and relevance of the calculations, and the test performance of the structure are also considered.

A failure to meet the loading requirements in the test might thus result in only a slight reduction in marks. Marks may be deducted for failing to meet any or all of the three deadlines.

Students failing to submit a report will lose 12 marks. Each pair is expected to attend the discussion session after testing; the time for this session is arranged by the demonstrator. Failure to attend the feedback session results in the loss of 6 marks.

(j) A number of prizes will be awarded for the best overall individual performances in this exercise.

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Last updated: May 2012