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Title: Design and Implementation of Experiential Learning Modules for Reinforced Concrete
Most undergraduate civil engineering programs include an introductory course in reinforced concrete design. The course generally includes an introduction to the fundamentals of reinforced concrete behavior, the design of simple beams and one-way slabs to resist shear and flexure, and the design of short columns. Because of the scale of typical civil engineering structures, students commonly do not get to experience large or full-scale structural behavior as a part of an undergraduate reinforced concrete course. Rather, students typically learn fundamental concepts through theoretical discussions, small demonstrations, or pictures and images. Without the interaction with full-scale structural members, students can struggle to develop a clear understanding of the fundamental behavior of these systems such as the differences in behavior of an over or under-reinforced beam. Additionally, students do not build an appreciation for the variations between as-built versus theoretical designs. Large-scale models can illustrate such behavior and enhance student understanding, but most civil engineering programs lack the physical equipment to perform testing at this scale. The authors from St. Louis University (SLU) and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) have designed and implemented large-scale tests for in-class use that allow students to experience fundamental reinforced concrete behavior. Students design and test several reinforced concrete members using a modular strong-block testing system. This paper provides a detailed overview of the design, fabrication, and implementation of three large-scale experiential learning modules for an undergraduate reinforced concrete design course. The first module focuses on service load and deflections of a reinforced concrete beam. The first and second modules also focus on flexural failure modes and ductility. The third module focuses on shear design and failure modes. Each module uses a large scale reinforced concrete beam (Flexure specimens: 12 in. x 14 in. x 19 ft, Shear specimens: 12 in. x 14 in. x 10 ft.) that was tested on a modular strong-block testing system. The three modules were used throughout the reinforced concrete design course at SLU and RHIT to illustrate behavior concurrent to the presentation of various reinforced concrete design concepts.  more » « less
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ASEE annual conference exposition
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National Science Foundation
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