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Understanding Superstructures

University of Liverpool via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.



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.

You don’t need any prior knowledge of this subject but you will need GCSE-level or equivalent knowledge of physics and maths.


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