Track Structural Engineering

Structures such as bridges, high-rises, tunnels and storm surge barriers clearly may not collapse or fall over. They may not deflect too much or vibrate annoyingly. Moreover, often they need to last for more than 100 years without much maintenance. In this track you will learn to calculate which deflections we can expect, whether a structure will buckle, whether its strength will be sufficient, et cetera.

Essential to this are physical models of structures, of materials and of loading. You will learn to formulate these models, to test them and to apply them. Simple models are used for hand calculations to quickly make decisions in meetings with owners, architects, contractors and local governments. Complicated models are used for computer simulations to accurately determine whether a structure will comply with the design specifications. Examples are the stresses that will occur in a concrete dam of an artificial lake or the damage that will occur in a high-rise due to a strong earthquake.

Key features

➨ You will learn about the mechanics, dynamics, design and construction of a broad range of civil engineering structures.
➨ The track is focused on providing technical knowledge and skills about how to design, construct, monitor, maintain and assess the health and remaining service life of engineering structures and infrastructural components.
➨ You learn to apply the acquired knowledge of structural mechanics in the context of sustainability by using innovative materials and systems, contributing to solutions regarding climate change, populations growth, ageing of infrastructure and resources depletion.

Research examples

The concrete listener

Dutch concrete bridges are getting old and wrinkled. For this reason, Assistant Professor Yuguang Yang spots cracks inside concrete by listening to how sound spreads inside it. Proposing a revolutionary monitoring technique that can reduce maintenance costs and help unsticking traffic on highways.

Good vibrations? Not for bridges

Due to poor monitoring, many structures are not maintained properly or on time. This results in safety risks and high costs for overdue maintenance. Researcher Alice Cicirello is working on better design and monitoring tools to ensure the secure construction of structures to extend their service life.