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Structural Dynamics and Modelling (CVEN90018)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCVEN90018
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


This subject introduces students to the fundamental concepts of structural dynamics and finite element modelling and teaches students the skills of undertaking structural analyses which involve dynamic (or transient) actions in a practical engineering context. At the conclusion of this subject students should be able to undertake dynamic analyses by hand calculations (that can be enhanced by the use of EXCEL spreadsheets) and effectively employ a commercial computational package (e.g. Strand 7) for more complex analyses. Emphasis is on the ability to undertake independent checks of results generated by the computer. Improved proficiencies in structural dynamics and modelling will result in more economical design of structures and a more sustainable built environment. This subject builds on students’ fundamental knowledge of engineering mathematics, mechanics and structural analysis. For students considering a career in structural design for earthquake resistant structures this is an important subject to prepare for professional practice as a graduate under the supervision of a chartered engineer.


Topics covered include: introduction to finite element formulations for in-plane (membrane) stress analysis, use of finite element modelling packages; the response analyses of single-degree-of-freedom systems, discrete multi-degree-of-freedom systems and distributed mass (continuous) systems in conditions of natural vibrations and forced excitations; numerical time-step integration techniques; excitation simulation techniques, simultaneous equation solution and reduction techniques; frequency domain analyses and processing of time-series data. Skills acquired from the various topics outlined above will be integrated and applied to a number of case studies.

Intended learning outcomes


On completion fo this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Implement the modelling of the response of single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) systems to pulse and harmonic excitations
  2. Describe and apply the concepts of viscous damping, hysteretic damping, coulomb damping (by friction) and equivalent damping
  3. Transform data from time-domain to frequency domain in the form of Fourier Amplitude/Phase spectra and Power spectra, and apply linear transformation
  4. Implement the modelling of the response of discrete lumped mass multi-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) systems involving the use of the participation factor, effective modal mass and modal coefficients based on the principles of modal superposition
  5. Obtain classical solutions for the dynamic response behaviour of single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) systems based on harmonic excitations and common idealised forms of transient excitations
  6. Implement on spreadsheets time-step integration procedures for analysing the response of SDOF systems to a range of transient excitations including earthquake excitations, and collation of the response output to produce elastic response spectra of different formats
  7. Implement on spreadsheets the response analyses of simple discrete MDOF systems using principles of modal superposition
  8. Apply finite element modelling packages to perform static and dynamic response analysis to a variety of dynamic loading options
  9. Undertake independent checks of analysis results by hand calculations.

Generic skills

  • Ability to apply knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, and solution
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance
  • Proficiency in engineering design
  • Ability to conduct an engineering project
  • Ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large
  • Understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities, and commitment to them
  • Capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.

Last updated: 22 August 2019