Module code: ENG3176

Module Overview

The module provides an introduction to modelling structural behaviour used in practice in the design and analysis of structures. The Generalised Stiffness approach is introduced for skeletal forms and the Finite Element Method for continuous forms. Other relevant issues associated to modelling structures are introduced such as prestressing and instability of structures.

Module provider

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Module Leader

SAGASETA J Dr (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: H210

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Completion of the normal progression requirements from FHEQ Level 5 on a degree course in Civil Engineering.

Module content

Generalised stiffness method – application of matrix methods to the modelling of plane trusses and unbraced frames;

Finite element method – an introduction to the method, including modelling principles, detailed consideration of 2D plane stress element and overview of membrane and shell element types. Introduction to the use of verification and validation processes in structural analysis modelling;

Plates – analysis of the bending of rectangular plates under the action of lateral loads – classical solution methods for stresses and deflections and the influence of boundary conditions. Applications to analysis and design of floor slabs and bridge deck slabs;

Plastic collapse – kinematic approaches to estimation of plastic collapse loads for beams, simple frames and simple slabs;

Stability – an overview of structural stability theory and its significance: buckling problems in columns, beam-columns and laterally unrestrained beams;

Prestressing – an overview of applications of prestressing in bridge and building structures and approaches of introducing prestressing in structural models.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2 HOUR EXAMINATION 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how to apply different analytical methods used to assess the performance of structural elements (i.e. frames, trusses, slabs and columns) through a 2 hour unseen written examination (LO assessed 1, 3, 4, 5, 6) and one coursework assignment (LO 1, 2, 3 and 6).

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

An unseen written examination [LO assessed 1, 3, 4, 5, 6] (2 hours, 80%)
Coursework assignment (20%) – [LOs assessed 1, 2, 3 and 6]

Coursework assignment (around 30 working hours) – 20%

-       Finite element method analysis - [1, 2, 3 and 6] (a, b, c and d)

Formative assessment and feedback is through a range of self assessment exercises provided on SurreyLearn. Worked examples will also be covered during tutorial sessions. Both type of excerises will provide automatic feedback where necessary. Feedback is also given on SurreyLearn in forum discussions and through comments on coursework submissions.

Module aims

  • Introduce different analytical and numerical approaches to assess the performance of different structural elements (i.e. frames, trusses, slabs and columns) commonly found in structural engineering.
  • Provide an appreciation of relevant topics in structural engineering such as prestressing and instability which can govern the design/analysis of structures.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Use verification and validation techniques to evaluate the appropriateness of simple structural models; KCT
002 Employ commercial structural analysis and Finite Element applications to model skeletal and simple plane stress problems; PT
003 Evaluate bending moments on flat plates; KT
004 Predict the rigid plastic collapse loads for simple beams, unbraced frames and simple slabs KC
005 Evaluate forms of buckling (instability) failure in simple structural forms KC
006 Appreciate the applications of prestressing in structures and evaluate forms of introducing prestress in structural models KC
007 Independent learning skills T
008 Technical report writing T
009 Synthesis of data T
010 3D spatial awareness T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 11

Methods of Teaching / Learning

22 hours of lectures, 11 hours of tutorial classes, 30 hours of coursework and 87 hours independent learning.

2 hours examination.

Total student learning time 150 hours.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Civil Engineering MEng 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering BEng (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.