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Extreme Loading of Structures (CVEN90026)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCVEN90026
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


This subject is aimed at teaching the scientific principles associated with extreme events including that of earthquakes, impact, blast and cyclonic wind and their effects on a structure. Students will also be trained to make effective use of state-of-the-art techniques in quantifying the effects of the design actions in order that suitable level of protection can be incorporated into the structure to counter an extreme event. At the conclusion of this subject students should be capable of modelling a variety of extreme loadings by employing advanced techniques. Students will also be able to apply the modelling methodologies to fulfil performance based design objectives. Improved proficiencies in countering extreme loading in the design of structures will achieve better economy and a more sustainable built environment. This subject builds on students’ fundamental knowledge of engineering mathematics, mechanics and structural analysis. With frequency of extreme events increasing due to climate change, increased mass and speed of vehicles and terrorism, this subject provides graduates with specialist knowledge to work in the field of hazard reduction or avoidance under the guidance of a chartered engineer.


Topics covered include Rayleigh Method for developing a simplified model of a structural element, hand calculation techniques for analysing the impact action of a solid object based on linear elastic and elasto-plastic behaviour of the structure, considerations for the conditions of contact and anomalies associated with contributions by the higher modes. Another major topic to be covered is the capacity spectrum method involving linear, or non-linear, static analysis for the assessment of a building structure subject to seismic actions. Other topics include the analysis of blast actions by hand calculations and phenomena associated with the aerodynamic actions of wind.

Intended learning outcomes


On completion of this subject the students is expected to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to describe the effects of a range of extreme transient actions (including earthquake ground shaking, accidental impact, blast and strong wind) on a structure and their implications on structural design
  2. Use hand calculation methods to estimate the effects of the listed extreme transient actions and be able to correctly interpret results and identify their limitations
  3. Apply numerical techniques with the use of EXCEL spreadsheets as a generic tool to model the effects of transient actions on a building structure for benchmarking results generated from a commercial computational package
  4. Assess the output to these models to inform the design process for safety and serviceability, and apply the learnt analysis techniques to ensure compliance with performance based design criteria.

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
  • Capacity for creativity and innovation
  • Understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities, and a commitment to them.

Last updated: 22 August 2019