The Approximate Analysis of Structures

  • W. J. Spencer


Experienced structural engineers have expressed a concern that the adoption of computer-based methods of analysis and design will lead to a generation of structural engineers who have little feel for and understanding of structural behaviour. Engineering educators are aware of this and many have noted the blind fascination that students seem to have for numbers forming the output of a computer. There are several ways of tackling the problem. One solution lies in the way in which the interface between the user and the computer program is developed. The user should have a feeling of being in control and not being divorced from an automatic process. Alternatively, and more importantly, structural engineers must be trained continually to exercise engineering judgement on the results from computer programs or other methods of analysis. One way of achieving this last objective is to introduce a study of approximate methods of structural analysis. In one sense, all structural analysis is approximate since some idealisation of structural behaviour is involved in proposing the model for analysis. However, there are clear cases where a known principle is relaxed, or a condition is assumed, that makes the analysis approximate in the accepted sense of the word.


Lateral Load Approximate Analysis Continuous Beam Determinate Form Rectangular Frame 
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  1. Norris, C. H. and Wilbur, J. B. (1960). Elementary Structural Analysis, 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Benjamin, J. R. (1959). Statistically Indeterminate Structures, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar

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© W. J. Spencer 1988

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  • W. J. Spencer

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