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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Peter Mackenzie-Helnwein
H A&S 220
Seattle Campus

Science for Honors Students I

Evolution of an idea or concept central to the natural sciences. Intended for non-science majors. Content varies from year to year. For university honors students only. Offered: A.

Class description

Structural design is one of the most exciting but also most challenging tasks of any civil, mechanical, or aeronautical engineer. This course will introduce you to the basic concepts of structural design. Instead of excessive in-depth analysis of complex details, we will be using computer based analysis tools to study the behavior of trusses and frames as used for bridges, car frames, or airplane structures. This enables us to pursue class design projects where you will solve a typical engineering problem by designing and building a bridge structure, which will be put to the test until failure. A forensic analysis of all tested structures will allow us to gain better insight and understanding of the learned concepts.

Upon completion of this course you will be able to

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This class will be a combination of class room lectures and design projects. While lectures will be used mainly to introduce new concepts, design projects will represent a key portion of your learning. Design projects are out of class activities, performed in small groups, and complemented by design team meetings with the instructur.

Recommended preparation

Some vector analysis would be useful, but I won't require more than very basic background. I will not assume prior physics knowledge on forces and moments, you might want to review your notes if you learned about it in any other course or high school to give you a little head start.

Class assignments and grading

Course Work & Assessment:

The typical engineering work style is team work. Hence, most tasks in this course will be performed in small design teams. Only a small number of pop quizzes will be on an individual basis. Evaluation of progress will be through pop quizzes, small design papers and drawings, in-class project presentation, evaluation of built scale models, and a final project report and presentation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Peter Mackenzie-Helnwein
Date: 09/28/2006