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CIV8804 Advanced Design Practice using Finite Element Analysis

Semester 2, 2019 Online
Short Description: Adv Design Prac use FE Analysi
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 030903 - Structural Engineering
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Sourish Banerjee


Frame analysis packages such as Space Gass and Microstan have been developed by and for structural designers to assist with code based design of conventional structures. They generate analysis output that is directly applicable to code based design. Finite element analysis packages such as Strand7 have been developed as general purpose analysis tools. Structural designers are making increasing use of finite element analysis as a design tool particularly for non-standard structures. FEA can provide results that allow design of non-standard structures where code methods are not directly applicable. This course is concerned with developing an understanding of FEA and equally importantly, with reaching responsible and informed design decisions on the basis of FEA results. The course is intended to be broadly applicable to designers of building, civil and industrial structures.


This course is concerned with the mechanics of "driving" an FEA package, using FEA output to develop a more sophisticated qualitative understanding of structural phenomena, and using quantitative FEA results as the basis for design decisions particularly where code methods are not directly applicable. A considerable emphasis is placed on using FEA to consolidate and extend the understanding of a number of phenomena likely to have been introduced in an undergraduate course. The course includes a substantial amount of design relevant theory required to understand the analysis of plate element models.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  1. display proficiency in the mechanics of using FEA software;
  2. demonstrate a disciplined approach to the documentation and self checking of computer models and results;
  3. use FEA software for frame analysis and demonstrate an understanding of the difference between an FEA beam element and the beam element normally used in frame analysis packages;
  4. display an in-depth understanding of the full range of buckling phenomena and an ability to model these phenomena;
  5. use explicit modelling of imperfections to undertake design by advanced analysis of assemblies;
  6. display an understanding of the importance of mesh subdivision and of the relative accuracy of different plate element types;
  7. interpret results of plate element analysis and make use of such results for both steel and reinforced concrete structures;
  8. develop models for dynamic analysis and use natural frequency, transient dynamic and harmonic analysis.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Apply the mechanics of modelling using a typical FEA package 10.00
2. Undertake and interpret non-linear and buckling analysis using beam elements 10.00
3. Undertake and interpret non-linear and buckling analysis using plate elements 10.00
4. Undertake design by advanced analysis using explicit imperfection modelling 10.00
5. Undertake design using plate element models of steel assemblies 10.00
6. Plate element theory - including Von Mises stress and Wood Armer equations 20.00
7. Design using plate element models of reinforced concrete assemblies 20.00
8. Undertake and interpret different forms of dynamic analysis 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

The primary study book for this course is available for download in pdf form to enrolled students.
This course is heavily dependent on the use of the finite element analysis software Strand7 including the Linear, Non Linear and Buckling Analysis modules and preferably the Natural Frequency, Linear Transient Dynamic and Harmonic Response Analysis modules. Enrolled students will need to pay a small licensing fee for the online access (from home) to an academic version of Strand7 that will be adequate for use in the course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 55.00
Directed Study 55.00
Private Study 55.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
Assignment 1 200 20 08 Aug 2019 1,2,3
Assignment 2 400 40 12 Sep 2019 1,2,4,5,6
Assignment 3 400 40 24 Oct 2019 1,2,6,7,8

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade in a course a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must email the assignment to USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the dispatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be dispatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (incomplete - Make up). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. The following temporary grade may be awarded: IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up).

  10. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Other requirements

  1. Students must have access to e-mail and internet access to UConnect for this course.

  2. Students are strongly advised to have a minimum 256K broadband internet connection to USQ for the satisfactory operation of the Strand 7 software required for Assignments in this course. While you might be able to run the program over a dial-up 56K connection, the experience may be far from satisfactory given the heavy graphics component of Strand 7.