Monday, April 27, 2009

Visual Basic Games in Civil Engineering

In the laboratory course on Computer Methods in Civil Engineering at DLSU-Manila, aside from computer applications in civil engineering, I required the students to create game applications related to civil engineering. The randon number generator function is a very useful function in game simulations. These game applications may be used to review the students on their understanding of the concepts and equations in civil engineering. Student competitions may be conducted using the software to make the class more interesting and enjoyable. Through these activities, the students’ understanding and retention of the concepts hopefully may be improved. Here are the GUI's of some of the game applications created by the students.

Hangeneering by J.P. Sy and D. Baluyot. Based on the game, "Hangman", this is a game to test the student’s mastery on solving reactions in statically determinate beams. There is a time limit which varies from 30 seconds to 90 seconds depending on the level of difficulty. The program chooses randomly the figure and the beam parameters. There is a formula for getting the score of the player. The game will be over when the user answered incorrectly three times or when the time has run out. This game can be played in the Engineering Mechanics (Statics) or Strength of Materials class.

Jeopardeng by C. Fabie and R. Masa: This is an adaptation of the famous American game Jeopardy. The game has four different categories that cover various topics about civil engineering. Each category has four objective questions. There is a data base of questions which are selected randomly. The user answers all questions under the four categories in any order, aiming to bag a high score. After all questions have been answered within the time limit, the user is prompted to the “Final JeopardENG Round”; wherein a computational question will be asked to the user worth 5000 points.

This game can be played in class to review the students about civil engineering terms, concepts and definitions. A competition among students can be done with the student having the highest score declared as the winner.

You may play some games at

Sunday, April 19, 2009

CPE Seminar on Computer-Aided Modeling, Design & Analysis of Bridge Structures

Bridges are important structures in infrastructure projects such as highways, elevated expressways, flyovers and water crossings. The effective and efficient design of bridges requires a good understanding of bridge engineering principles and usage of modern computing tools. The objectives of the seminar are (a) To provide an overview of the theoretical and practical background on analysis & design of various types of bridge structures with a special focus on RC bridges, and (b) To introduce the use of up-to-date computing tools for the modeling, analysis, and design of bridge structures.
Dr. Naveed Anwar is the Associate Director of ACECOMS and an Affiliate Faculty of the School of Engineering and Technology of the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. Naveed is the principal author of several engineering software including SDL, GEAR, SYSDesigner. He is also a consultant of CSI, the developer of ETABS, CSI Col, SAFE and SAP2000.
For more info. about the program and fees: Go to the PICE-LNM Website.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Visual Basic Applications in Civil Engineering

Innovative approaches in teaching can be introduced in the classroom using the computer. In the author’s laboratory class on Computer Methods in Civil Engineering, students develop simple computer software applications and computer-based games on topics related to civil engineering using Visual Basic. By creating their own software applications, the students demonstrate their creativity and integrate concepts, methods and skills in mathematics, basic engineering and specialized civil engineering subjects. These software applications and games can be introduced in the classroom to motivate learning and to facilitate retention and understanding of engineering concepts. Here are examples of the Graphical User's Interface of the students' projects.

Beam Deflection Application: This is a software application for solving the elastic deflection and slope of a beam. The inputs to the program are the cross-section dimension and properties of the I-section and the beam loadings and lengths. The outputs include the moment of inertia of the I-section, the beam deflection and slope at specified point X from the left end. This application may be used in the course on Mechanics of Materials or Structural Analysis to demonstrate the effect of section properties, beam loading and lengths on the elastic deflection and slope of a beam. By computing the deflection of the beam at different values of X, the shape of the elastic curve can be drawn.

Open Channel Flow: This software application determines the normal depth of an open channel using Manning’s Equation. In this program, the user first selects the shape of the cross-section: (a ) rectangle, (b) trapezoid, or (c) triangle. The system of units have to be chosen also. The inputs to the program are the dimensions of the cross-section and Manning equation parameters, S, n and Q. The output of the program is the normal depth of flow. This software application can be used in the courses, Fluid Mechanics or Hydraulics. The values of the various parameters, such as dimensions of the cross-section, slope of channel bed, coefficient of roughness or flow rate, maybe varied to study the effect on the normal depth of flow.

You may download and try these programs at my website at

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Per Tveit's Network Arches

Prof. Emeritus Per Tveit, Dr. Ing. of Agder University, Norway, visited De La Salle University, Manila a few years ago to share his knowledge and expertise about Network Arches. "When I was a student over 50 years ago, I got the idea of the network arch. Optimal network arches are arch bridges where some hangers cross other hangers at least twice. When the arches are less than 18 m apart, the tie should be a concrete slab with partial longitudinal prestress. The arches should be universal columns or American wide flanges. Network arches are best suited for spans between 80 m and 170 m, but will compete well in a wider range of spans. This results in attractive bridges that do not hide the landscape behind them. A network arch bridge is likely to remain the world’s most slender tied arch bridge, " he says. Indeed, Tveit can be considered the "father of network arches." He traveled around the world using his own resources spreading the information about network arches - the basic components, analysis, design and construction. His website has detailed information about network arches.
If you want to know more about Network Arches, contact:
Per Tveit, Dr. Ing. dosent emeritus Agder University N-4876 Grimstad, Norway

Here is a YouTube video of Mangamahu network arch bridge - the first of its type in New Zealand.