• Length:
    5 Weeks
  • Effort:
    3–6 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

  • High school algebra
  • High school geometry

About this course

In this introductory course, you’ll learn some engineering principles that can be applied to structural systems everywhere: in nature, in furniture, in mechanical and aerospace systems, and in any solid object that resists a load.

Together we’ll explore how structures work, why they were designed the way they were designed, how they support loads, and where forces flow through them.

More specifically we’ll:

  • Learn about funicular forms and how ropes and cables resist tension.
  • Discuss how columns, arches, and anti-funicular forms resist compression.
  • Discover how trusses, beams and walls resist loads. • Sketch the flow of forces through structures.
  • Compare and contrast different structural forms and systems to answer a range of questions such as: Why might an engineer choose a beam over a truss? How do the dimensions of a structure affect its response? How do engineers choose forms and systems to create structures that are both elegant and functional?

Join us in exploring the engineering of structures around us.

The main course image, Kurilpa Bridge credited to: Alastair Smith, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What you'll learn

  • How and why the world's structures (including structures in the natural and biological world) were designed and constructed the way they were​
  • To conceptually design and build prototypes of structures
  • That engineering goes beyond math and science and involves much creativity and innovation
  • To identify and compare structural elements, forms, and systems
  • To describe the loads expected on a structure and the resulting flow of forces through the structure

Meet your instructors

Michael Goudzwaard
Instructional Designer
Dartmouth College
Jay Beaudoin
Senior Producer
Dartmouth College
Sawyer Broadley
Media Production Group
Dartmouth College
Petra Bonfert-Taylor
Professor, Thayer School of Engineering
Dartmouth College

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