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Unit information: Structural Materials and Design in 2021/22

Unit name Structural Materials and Design
Unit code CENG20020
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Crewe
Open unit status Not open

Introductory Structural Analysis (CENG10007) or equivalent & Properties of Materials 1 (CENG10001) or equivalent



School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to three fundamental building materials, steel, reinforced concrete and timber. It will combine the material properties and understanding of structural analysis to enable students to design simple elements in bending and compression so that they can start designing buildings and bridges by the end of the year. The unit will also provide a professional context to this design work by:

  • Putting it into a societal context (ILO 2)
  • Ensuring students can communicate the design (ILO 3)
  • And experiencing the materials in the lab and out on site (ILO 4)

By the end of this unit students will be well placed to work for a structural engineering design practice over the summer where they will be able to do some simple design work.

This unit consists of the following elements:

(i) Structural Concrete Design - to enable students to understand and use the design process for reinforced concrete elements and structures;

(ii) Structural Steel Design - to enable students to gain a sound grasp of the principles of structural steelwork design;

(iii) Structural Timber Design - to enable students to gain a sound grasp of the principles of structural timber design;

(iv) Systems and safety - to enhance students’ design capabilities by highlighting wider systems issues such as failure case studies;

(v) Sustainability - of structural timber, steel and concrete elements, their manufacture and constructability issues;

(vi) Demonstration and appreciation of different testing methodologies - for steel, concrete and timber.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, successful students will:

(1) Be able to specify and carry out structural design of bending and compression elements in steel, concrete or timber;

(2) Be able to consider the health, safety and sustainability aspects of design throughout the design, construction, use, demolition and reuse stages;

(3) Be able to clearly communicate designs through technical drawings and calculations;

(4) Describe different methods of testing steel, concrete and timber both in situ and during manufacture and construction.

(5) Be able to describe the process by which different construction materials are made and calculate the embodied energy and carbon in a design using these materials

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, which may include lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in sessions, problem sheets and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

Coursework assignment 50% (ILOs 1-5) and Blackboard test 50% (ILOs 1-5)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. CENG20020).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.