Engineering Design Software module (CE21002)

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This module gives you experience of using software in civil engineering design, and prepares you to use software in an engineering context. There are two key parts to the module. The first, and larger, part focuses on the use of commercial structural analysis software. As well as learning how to use the software, the module looks at how computer modelling relates to the behaviour of real structures. The second part involves the advanced use of Excel in an engineering context, teaching you skills that may be useful in the future.

Topics covered are:

Structural analysis software

  • 2D Trusses – this gives you a gentle introduction to using the software.
  • 3D Trusses – these are more complex structures, and you will start to learn more complex use of the software
  • 2D Frames – you will look at portal frames, a very common civil engineering structure type. You will also look at the use of non-linear analysis
  • Releases and offsets – these features relate to the real behaviour of framed structures
  • 3D Frames – You will model a simple 3D framed structure, including the use of load cases and combinations, and the use of bracing.
  • 3D Building – this is the culmination of this section of the module, bringing together all that you have learnt in the earlier parts, a modelling a simple multi-storey steel framed building.

Advanced use of Excel

  • Matrix calculations in Excel – matrices and vectors play a crucial role in engineering analysis. You look at the use of Excel matrix functions at both a relatively simple level, and in a more advanced fashion.
  • Databases – Excel has a number of database functions that can be very useful in handling tabular data. You will apply this to the use of steel structure section tables.
  • Functions and Macros – The capabilities of Excel can be considerably extended by writing your own functions and subroutines. You again look at this at both a basic and a more complex level.
  • Optimisation – You look at the use of Excel’s Solver. This allows us to solve non-linear problems and to carry out optimisation.
  • Statistics – Excel has a number of built-in wizards for dealing with a variety of statistics tasks.


This module is available on following courses: