NEW METHODOLOGIES IN THE UNIVERSITY TEACHING: A PRACTICAL CASE FOR THE USE OF FINITE ELEMENT METHOD
University of Burgos (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:An innovative educational experience forming part of the ‘Advanced Calculation of Structures’ module, on the Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering, at the Polytechnic School of the University of Burgos, is described, as a means of motivating students in the use of the Finite Element Method (FEM). The work was proposed for students repeating the subject, who had followed the same module in the previous year and had already gained some previous knowledge of using the FEM. The proposal consisted of a first phase of calculation, applying the FEM to a pre-stressed beam, commonly used as a structural element to support flooring in the construction of a multi-storey buildings. In the second phase, they had to design a four-point flexural test plan, to verify the results obtained in the first phase. The third and most interesting phase for the students was the execution of the planned test and the data acquisition "in situ" while performing a failure test on the beam that registered its breaking load. Finally, the fourth phase entailed the production of a final report describing all the tasks performed during the study, a comparison between the data from the numeric simulation and the tests, as well as some final conclusions. The students participating in this experience valued it highly and showed high levels of involvement and development throughout the semester. Most of them were awarded good grades and passed the subject, having easily acquired the required skills. The key to the success of this experience was the previous subject knowledge that the students hold, as they were repeating the module. Our intention is to continue the application of this methodology in successive years and even to extend it to the End-of-Master’s Final Project.
Keywords: Project-based learning, Finite Element Method (FEM), four-point bending test, numerical simulation, pre-stressed beam, concrete.