CE1MSA-Materials and structural analysis

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Timothy Lees

Email: t.j.lees@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces mechanical properties of a wide range of materials including concrete, metals, timber, and masonry that are used in structural design. In addition, the techniques of structural design and analysis will be introduced, and students will learn the rationale behind using these techniques and their application to the design of steel, reinforced concrete, and pre-stressed concrete structures. In this module factors such as stress, strain, elasticity, plasticity and cracking will be discussed. In addition, students will learn the science behind the structural durability of the main materials used in the built environment. This will include an emphasis on the life cycle, sustainability and recycling of materials. Finally, students are introduced to relevant Codes of Practice for designing structures.


The aim of this module is to provide students with principles of structural design and analysis and enable them to select appropriate material to design simple structural elements and to determine whether a structure is structurally sound.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:

  • Explain the physical properties and environmental impacts of materials used in structural design,  

  • Calculate buckling loads and apply bending moments diagrams for loaded beams,

  • Analyse tensile and compression forces in simple structures and trusses,

  • Formulate key failure mechanisms for steel, reinforced concrete, timber and masonry struc tural elements,

  • Conduct standard laboratory tests according to given procedures to measure the deflection in beams and yield stress in materials.

Additional outcomes:

  • To explain the failure mechanisms that affect the design of individual structural components and frames

  • To describe the main approach discussed in Eurocode (and/or British Standards) for the assessment of loadings and the design of structural steelwork and reinforced concrete,

  • To explain the health and safety issues related to the design.

Outline content:

  • Structure, composition, properties and performance of building materials (concrete, masonry, metals, timber, plastics, glass, bituminous and paints),

  • Testing and Regulations of building materials and structural design,

  • Basic concepts of stresses and strains of simple structures,

  • Calculation of shear forces, bending moments and deflection of fabrics,

  • Environmental impacts of the materials used in structural design,
  • designing structural concrete and steel elements in accordance with the Eurocodes and UK National standards,

  • Stress and Strain: combination and failure criteria,

  • Fresh concrete and curing, aggregates and admixtures,

  • sustainability in structural design.

Global context:

The skills and knowledge that students will acquire from this module have global applications.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching in this module will be by means of lectures, tutorials and experimental laboratory work. These sessions will be complemented by guided independent study.

Independent study hours needed depend on the learning style of each individual. The following guide for independent study hours is just an example.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 5
Practicals classes and workshops 5
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 17
    Wider reading (directed) 5
    Exam revision/preparation 15
    Peer assisted learning 5
    Advance preparation for classes 12
    Preparation for tutorials 8
    Revision and preparation 6
    Reflection 2
Total hours by term 85 0 15
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Practical skills assessment 20
Set exercise 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment by examination will be based on a 2-hour examination in May/June.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

There will be a set exercise test which will be assessed summatively and should be submitted online by the end of week 10 of the autumn term. In addition, the outcomes of practical laboratory work should be prepared as a laboratory report (800-1000 words) and submitted online by the end of week 11 of the autumn term.  

Formative assessment methods:

This module includes formative assessment of a set of exercises and problem-solving practices about the selection of materials and structural analysis that will be discussed in tutorial sessions.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark 0f 40%

Reassessment arrangements:

Students who have failed in their first attempt will provided with an opportunity to re-sit in a two-hour re-examination.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 29 May 2020


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