Last Updated S022019


Unit Name Advanced Structural Engineering Methods Part 2
Unit Code MCS602
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Master of Engineering (Civil: Structural)

Duration: 2 years

Year Level 2nd
Unit Creator / Reviewer Dr Medhat Boutros
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites MCS504 - Advanced Structural Engineering Methods Part 1
Credit Points



Masters total course credit points = 48

(3 credits x 12 (units) + 12 credits (Thesis))

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload

10 hours per week:

Lecture – 1 hour

Tutorial – 1 hour

Practical / Lab – 1 hour (where applicable)

Personal Study recommended – 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

This unit introduces and applies the concepts of (material and geometric) non-linear static behaviour of structural components and complex structures; such as beams, cables, roofs and frames.  

The study extends the concept of stability which is applied to skeletal, plate and shell structures. 

The use and capability of commercial Finite Element software is investigated and applied in non-linear and stability analysis.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Make judgements and apply geometric and material non-linearity.

       Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Evaluate non-linear geometrical static analysis of :
    1. line structural components (e.g., cables and arches);
    2. shell roof structures (e.g., vaults and domes);
    3. multi-storey frames including P-Δ

       Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Determine stability analysis of:
    1. Frames;
    2. Plates and shells.

       Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Plan non-linear static and stability analysis using Finite Element software.

      Bloom’s Level 6

  1. Optimise practical cases involving stability and non-linear structural behaviour.

       Bloom’s Level 5

Student assessment

Assessment Type

(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic)

Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed

(eg Week 5)

Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test (Proctored) / Group work / Short answer questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation

Example Topic: Up to topic 3

After Topic 3 15% 1, 2

Assessment 2

Type: Proctored test / Report / Research / Paper / Case Study / Site Visit / Problem analysis / Project / Professional recommendation

Example: Short/Long answers and Problems to solve from topics 1-6

After Topic 6 25% 1-3

Assessment 3

Type: Project Report / Practical assessments, Remote labs, Simulation software or Case studies.

Example Topic: Analyse a problem set on cables, arches, vaults and domes.


Example Topics:  Analyse a problem set on frames (P-Δ effect) and curved beams.

After Topic 10 25% 1 - 5

Assessment 4

Type: Project Report

Word length: 4000

Example Topic:  Critical investigation of:

  1. commercial software application to non-linear and stability analysis.

a case study of a structural actual or potential failure.

After Topic 12 30% 1 - 5

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Continuous 5%         1 - 5


Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required textbook

  1. Taranath, B.S., 2016. Structural analysis and design of tall buildings: Steel and composite construction. CRC press.
  2. Timoshenko, S.P. and Gere, J.M.; “Theory of Elastic Stability”; 2nd edition, Dover Ed., 2009.

Recommended textbook(s)

  1. Timoshenko, S.P. and Woinowsky-Krieger, S; “Theory of Plates and Shells”; 2nd edition; McGraw-Hill Int., 1989.
  2. Karnovsky, I. and Lebed, O.; “Advanced Methods of Structural Analysis”; Springer, 2010.
  3. Gibson, J.E. and Neal, B.G.; “Thin Shells: computing and theory”; Elsevier Science, 2014.


Reference Materials

Number of peer-reviewed journals and websites as advised below (and during lectures);

A.     Resources from the American Institute of Steel Construction website (

B.    Other material to be advised during the lectures.

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.


Topic 1

Geometric nonlinearity - Basic relations.


Topic 2 to 4

Non-linear analysis of structural elements:

  1. Cables and arches.
  2. Vaults and domes.


Topic 5

Analysis of Frames - the P-Δ effect.

Topic 6

Curved beams.


Topic 7 to 10

Stability analysis:

  1. The Eigenvalue problem;
  2. Buckling of frames;
  3. Buckling of plates and shells;
  4. Buckling modes of steel beams.


Topic 11

Finite Element nonlinear analysis:

  1. Constitutive relations;
  2. Linearized solutions;
  3. Incremental and Eigenvalue analyses.


Topic 12

Project and Unit Review

In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far.  Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues.  Instructors / facilitators may choose to cover a specialised topic if applicable to that cohort.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: N/A

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


  • N/A