2023-2024 / GERE0021-1

Theory of structural calculations


29h Th, 28h Pr

Number of credits

 Master in environmental bioengineering (120 ECTS)6 crédits 


Laurent Duchene, Jean-Marc Franssen

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course is dedicated to the presentation of the most common structural types, the description of their load transfer modes and the arguments that may lead to a choice during conceptual design.
We will treat cables, arches, shells, trusses, beams, frames, shear walls, grillage of beams and slabs.
This course also contains a group project. The project consists in programming a calculation software based on the method of displacements to solve a particular structural problem.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The students will be able either to make themselves the most appropriate choice during the conceptual phase of a structure or to have a fruitfull discussion with an architect that would present various solutions.
The project's aim is mostly to teach the principles of the displacement method to the students.
After completing this course the student is expected to be able to:
- Calculate and better understand the flows of forces in the isostatic and hyperstatic structures.
- Understand and use the displacement method
- Program with a good knowledge of algorithmic, the ability to code the different parts of the solving strategy, the treatment of the results and the graphics. 

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

The following courses (or equivalent) are prerequisites:
- INGE0001: Strength of Materials and elasticity - MECA0490: Solid Mechanics 

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The different structural types will be explained on the base of example of existing structures of which the load transfer mechanism will be explained
For the classes related to the project, the teacher will take the needed hours:
- To explain the basics of the displacement method
- To remind the basics of programming in Visual Basic
- To supervise the student's work at each step of their project
- The rest is planed for the student's own group work.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Lectures : 36h Practical Works (project included): 36h

Recommended or required readings

"L'art des Structures", Aurelio Muttoni, Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, EPFL, Lausanne

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Written work / report

Continuous assessment

Additional information:

First part (2/3 of the final mark): continous evaluation. After presentation of every structural type,a new structure of the same type will be shown to the students who will have, in writing, explain the load bearing mechanism.
The project (1/3 of the final mark) will be evaluated on the basis of a report and an oral presentation (for the group). In case of lockdown, the project will be individual and without oral defence.
Students who failed only one of the two parts of the course might be exempted to take it again during the second session. The evaluation procedures for the second session will be adapted in case the project should be developed and defended again.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Professors Jean-Marc Franssen and Laurent Duchêne

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

1. Introduction
Procedure for conceptual design

10 Stabilisation
Bracings and wind bracings

Note: There is no chapter 9.

2.1 Reminder Materials
Reminders on the vocabulary on material behaviour

2.2 Equiibrium
Summary on equilibrium of forces

2.3 Load transmission
Reminder on the principle of load transmision, with an example

3. Tensile members - video
Video of the PowerPoint présentations (with 2 animations removed)

3.1 Tension
Systems wirth cables: part 1/2

3.2 Tension
Systems with cables

4. Compression
Bars in compression and arches

Vaults, domes and shells
Vaults, domes and shells

6. Beams

7. Slabs
Slabs and floors

8. Trusses

9. Portal frames
Pdf and video of the course on portal frames