Teaching Arches in Structural Analysis Courses
Godoy, Luis A.
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This paper reports on an experience carried out by the author to include the topic of Arches in a course on Structural Analysis II. The paper shows that the most popular textbooks do not address the topic, by considering the number of pages dedicated to arches. A strategy was implemented in which the instructor motivated the students to investigate about arches, with emphasis on their structural importance, their historical importance, their present day importance, and their esthetic importance.The students carried out projects in which the arches were analyzed by means of frame elements. The five structural themes were the numerical modeling of arches using frame elements, analysis of Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals, arch-supported bridge, and arch-suspended bridge. The evaluation of the experience was based on a questionnaire and showed highly positive results.