University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 1255-1261
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.0440
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
Civil engineers are people in charge of planning, projecting, performing, controlling and assessing civil works. Among civil activities, transport infrastructures, pipelines and dams, energetic and maritime works, buildings, concrete and steel structures and foundations, regional and town planning and environmental impact studies can be found. One of the exclusive professional attributions of these engineers is to project and carry out the project of roads and railways, including the geometric design of the outlines. One of the most important aspects of the geometric design of these infrastructures is the horizontal alignment, which is mainly composed by tangents and horizontal curves. In order to perform the transition between these two elements, transition curves, particularly clothoids, are employed.

This project is developed at the Faculty of Engineering Bilbao at the University of Basque Country. In the B.Sc. Civil Engineering, aspects related to the geometric design of the roads are taught in the subject called “Transport Infrastructure”, during the third academic year of the degree (5th and 6th semester). The professors of this subject realised that the concepts related to the clothoid were difficult for students, due to the fact that these concepts had not been introduced previously in any other basic subjects of the degree.

In order to improve the understanding of this concept, which is a key issue in the geometric road design, a multidisciplinary workgroup has been created. Professors of different departments have prepared and designed a specific itinerary to solve this deficiency, reinforcing the explanations about the clothoid within two subjects of the first academic year of the degree: "Algebra and Geometry" and "Graphical representation". In the first subject, the concept of the clothoid is presented from a theoretical point of view and in the second one; students perform practical exercises to know the use of this curve.

In this way when the student body learns concepts about road design, the concept of clothoid will be well known, and, hence, they must only be focused on learning the specifications related to its length and its parameter, A. It has to be pointed out that this geometric figure is also used in the fourth academic year subject called “Applications of Computer Assisted Drawing in Civil Engineering”, where students develop many drawings and outlines in which this curve is used as a transition curve for the horizontal alignment of roads. Hence, reinforcing the concept of clothoid will allow a better comprehension of this key concept of the road design.
Multidisciplinary workgroup, geometric design, road, algebra and geometry, graphical representation, clothoid.