This paper describes a number of physical models and hands-on lab activities incorporated in an advanced undergraduate structural dynamics lecture and laboratory course pairing offered within the Architectural Engineering department at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. These course modifications were designed and implemented in the Winter 2018 quarter to enable students to:

-Collect acceleration data during free or forced vibration tests using a smartphone accelerometer application to generate data plots in Matlab; -Conduct free vibration tests on various single-degree of freedom (SDOF) systems to investigate effects of varying mass, stiffness/height, material type, and damping type (pendulum or sloshing damper) on structural period and damping behavior; -Observe and analyze data from forced vibration tests using a small-scale shake table or eccentric mass shaker for various SDOF systems, diaphragms, and multi-story frames to understand natural frequency, dynamic amplification, and mode shapes; and -Execute a parametric study using Matlab interface that animates modal and time history response of a rigid diaphragm to illustrate impacts of changing mass, geometry, or stiffness.

Students were surveyed at the end of the Winter 2018 quarter, and their responses with regards to the new physical experiments/demonstrations were largely positive. In general, they indicated that observing the dynamic response of physical structural models; collecting and processing data; and comparing the results to theoretical predictions was engaging and encourages them to develop their engineering intuition, rather than memorize equations or procedures.


Architectural Engineering

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/aen_fac/130