Understanding Great Structures

Discipline: Engineering
Instructor: D’Amato
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1425
End: 1540
Field Work: Day 1 - Antwerp - Sunday, 14 September | Belgium Download Syllabus

We can mark civilization’s evolution by observing the structures it creates, uses and which it surrounds itself. This voyage will be docking near many interesting and striking engineering achievements such as the Delta Works (the 7th wonder of the modern world) near Antwerp, the Atosombo Dam in Ghana that creates the world’s largest manmade lake, several cathedrals of renown in St. Petersburg, Lisbon, Cadiz, bridges old and excitingly new and much more. This course will introduce students to the fundamental concepts used by engineers to create these structures. “Why do they not fall down?” The structures we will encounter will become objects of study and wonder. Understanding the design techniques, challenge, effort and accomplishment associated with these creations should be both stimulating and enriching.

Field Work

Country: Belgium
Day: 1 - Antwerp - Sunday, 14 September

We will survey several significant and historic structures located in the Antwerp/Rotterdam region known as the Delta Works. They have been deemed the 7th wonder of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers. These structures’ intent is to restrict water intrusion into the low-lying coast of Belgium and the Netherlands (home for millions). It includes the world’s largest moving object. See the logic? Will it work? How does it work? Also we’ll get to see one of world’s great modern bridges, the Erasmus. We will work to understand its unique form. Students will maintain a scientific journal to record pertinent information, data and reflections. Students will be teamed to prepare a presentation on selected structures. Would these structures been useful in New Orleans and New York? While in Rotterdam we will also inspect the Erasmus Bridge; one of the stunning new breed of bridges. Academic Objectives: The goal of this course is to develop the student’s introductory knowledge and understanding of how structures are analytically designed and thereby increasing their appreciation for the true greatness for these works. This goal will be accomplished through the following objectives:

  1. To understand the basic rules governing structures under load; a Statics primer.
  2. To understand how these simple rules dictate the determination of size, shape and material of a structure.
  3. To understand how these laws, which have been developed over centuries, have enabled the creation of stunning modern structures with expanded functionality and service.