Weekly study3 hours
This course isn't running right now. We can email you when it starts again, or check out these other courses you might like.
Despite being surrounded by both man-made and natural structures, we don’t often think about what it takes to keep them standing.
This course will introduce the mechanics of solids and structures that govern the performance of these essential structures.
Get an introduction to the mechanics of superstructures
Using everyday engineering examples you’ll explore the mechanics of structures, looking at purpose, material and form and learning how forces flow. We’ll ask and try and answer questions like: does form follow structure?
Understand stress analysis
Super structures must contend with plenty to stay standing - we’ll investigate some of these factors like stress and strain, shells, strain energy and torsion. Plus we’ll look further at how these structures are kept together, covering topics like cantilever beams; bending moments and shear forces; equilibrium and compatibility; structural hierarchy, stress concentration factors, material behaviour and fracture and fatigue.
Learn about design issues
As we’re looking at stress analysis we’ll also examine design issues that can lead to bigger problems for super structures, and find out about how structures can be designed for resilience. Finally we’ll look at the impact unknown risk can have on structures - paying attention to things like climate change and extreme events.
- Form & function: purpose, material & form; how forces flow; form-finding structures; free-body diagrams; tensegrity structures.
- Freedom & energy: degrees of freedom; definitions of deformation, strain and stress; membrane stresses; strain energy; torsion and shear stress.
- Keeping it all together: shear forces and bending moments; flexural stress; compatibility of displacement; statically indeterminate structures.
- Material details, an introductions to: Mohr’s circle; material response; structural materials; biological materials; stress concentrations; fracture & fatigue.
- Risk & resilience: dynamic loading; finite element analysis; limit states; damage tolerance; residual stresses; complex systems.
Learning on this course
You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Demonstrate rudimentary knowledge, understanding and skills of stress analysis
- Summarise basic knowledge and understanding of the mechanics of structures.
- Discuss design issues associated with structures
Who is the course for?
You don’t need any prior knowledge of this subject but you will need GCSE-level or equivalent knowledge of physics and maths.