Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 6189-6193
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
There are significant levels of concern about the relevance and the difficulty of learning some issues on Strength of Materials and Structural Analysis. Most students of Continuum Mechanics and Structural Analysis in Civil Engineering usually point out some key learning aspects as especially difficult for acquiring specific skills. These key concepts entail comprehension difficulties but ease access and applicability to structural analysis in more advanced subjects. Likewise, some elusive but basic structural concepts, such as flexibility, stiffness or influence lines, are paramount for developing further skills required for advanced structural design: tall buildings, arch-type structures as well as bridges.

As new curricular itineraries are currently being implemented, it appears appropriate to devise a repository of interactive web-based applications for training in those basic concepts. That will hopefully train the student to understand the complexity of such concepts, to develop intuitive knowledge on actual structural response and to improve their preparation for exams.

In this work, a web-based learning assistant system for influence lines on continuous beams is presented. It consists of a collection of interactive user-friendly applications accessible via Web. It is performed in both Spanish and English languages. Rather than a “black box” system, the procedure involves open interaction with the student, who can simulate and virtually envisage the structural response. Thus, the student is enabled to set the geometric, topologic and mechanic layout of a continuous beam and to change or shift the loading and the support conditions. Simultaneously, the changes in the beam response prompt on the screen, so that the effects of the several issues involved in structural analysis become apparent.

The system is performed through a set of web pages which encompasses interactive exercises and problems, written in JavaScript under JQuery and DyGraphs frameworks, given that their efficiency and graphic capabilities are renowned. Students can freely boost their self-study on this subject in order to face their exams more confidently.

Besides, this collection is expected to be added to the "Virtual Lab of Continuum Mechanics" of the UPM, launched in 2013 (
Teaching Innovations, Classroom Applications, Educational Software, Influence Lines, Continuous beams.