Structural Analysis

Module aims

This module is intended to bring all students to a similar level as far as fundamental structural analysis is concerned. It comprises two distinct parts: mechanics of materials and physical behaviour of structural elements; and common structural analysis methods. The material is viewed as the ideal core knowledge that would be expected of postgraduate students with an undergraduate background in civil, mechanical or structural engineering.

Learning outcomes

It is intended that by the end of the course students should be able to analyse common structural forms using the flexibility and stiffness methods. Students should be aware of how to implement the matrix stiffness method using software such as Matlab, as well as being able to check their analyses using software such as Oasys GSA.

Students should have an appreciation of the elastic behaviour of structural elements, including definition of sectional properties, response to axial and shear force, biaxial and asymmetric bending, and twisting moments. Students should appreciate the difference in formulations when operating in principal and non-principal axes. Students should have an appreciation of the existence of alternative beam theories and be aware of the implicants of assumptions adopted when using Euler-Bernoulli beam theory.

Students should appreciate the three dimensional behaviour of materials, including formulation of stiffness and compliance matrices, and implications of plane strain and plain strain assumptions. Students should also appreciate plastic yield criterion and implement plastic analysis with upper and lower bound methods at a basic level.

Module syllabus

  • Beam biaxial and asymmetric bending
  • Twisting on thin-walled beam cross-sections
  • Shear flow in thin-walled beam cross-sections
  • Elasticity including plane stress and plane strain and the Airy stress function
  • Plastcity including common yield criteria
  • Plate bending
  • Plastic analysis
  • Virtual work and static indeterminacy
  • Flexibility method for single and multiple static indeterminacy
  • Kinematic indeterminacy
  • The stiffness method
  • Computational implementation of the stiffness method

Teaching methods

The module is delivered through a blend of traditional lectures, private study to be completed prior to lectures, small group tutorials and individual exercises. It will be difficult for you to keep up with the course if you do not participate and engage with the active learning exercises on it.


Examination 80%, Coursework 20%

Module leaders

Dr Andrew Phillips