Fundamentals of Statics for Engineering Undergrads

Get to grips with static structural analysis once and for all. In this course we focus on getting the basics right.
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  • Lectures 17
  • Length 2 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 7/2015 English

Course Description

This course covers fundamental concepts and methods in static structural analysis. Starting with the very basics, we consider forces, moments and how to use the principle of static equilibrium. In section 2, we look at pin-jointed structures or trusses; what are they and how do we analyse them? We'll cover the joint resolution method and method of sections in detail.

Based on the instructor's experience lecturing to engineering undergraduates, the course focuses on those areas students find particularly tricky when starting out. Worked examples are used extensively to demonstrate the practical application of theory. The link between theory and practice is reinforced using the instructor's own experience as a structural design engineer.

The course includes video lectures which combine screencast voice over with traditional style lectures. The emphasis is on worked examples with students encouraged to try questions before the detailed solution is presented. The teaching philosophy is 'learn by doing!'. Each section concludes with a supplementary worksheet to help test your understanding. Accompanying solution videos provide detailed discussion of each solution to help you learn from any mistakes.

This course is suitable for engineering students who find their structures lectures confusing and feel a little lost when it comes to structural analysis. Students wishing to get a head start before starting their degree program or more advanced engineering students who need a refresher would also benefit from taking this course.

What are the requirements?

  • You don't need any prior understanding or knowledge of static or mechanical analysis, just a pencil, paper, calculator and a few of hours of effort! An understanding of basic high school level algebra and geometry will be helpful.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Understand the core concepts used throughout static structural analysis; forces, moments and static equilibrium
  • Confidently use the Joint Resolution Method and Method of Sections to analyse pin-jointed truss structures seen on almost every construction site!
  • Understand the key differences between the behaviour of simplified structural models used in our analyses and the behaviour of real world structures

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is great for undergraduate engineering students who feel a little lost in their structures lectures. We start from scratch, establishing the basics and build from there.
  • More advanced engineering students who want a refresher or who didn't quite grasp the fundamentals first time around would also benefit from this course.
  • If you're about to start an engineering program, this course is a great way to get a head start.
  • If you're a structures genius already, this course is probably not for you.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


An Introduction to Me and the Course
Section 1: Forces, Reactions and Equilibrium

In this lecture we'll start by introducing forces and their defining characterises. By the end of the lecture you should understand what a force is and how it influences mass. You'll also understand what a 2D force system is.

Force resultants and components

When dealing with 2D force systems, determining the resultant force is only half the story, we also need to determine the combined twisting or rotational effect generated by the force system. By the end of this lecture you'll understand what the moment of a force is and how to determine the resultant moment from a 2D force system.


Now that you can analyse 2D force systems, in this lecture we put these skills to use by determining equivalent systems of moments and forces. By the end of this lecture you'll be able to replace complex systems of moments and forces with equivalent simplified systems. We'll also cover the concept of force couples.


Equilibrium is the foundation on which almost all mechanical analysis is built. In this lecture we'll first introduce the principle of equilibrium and show how it can be used to determine the reaction forces for simple structures. We'll also look at different types of structural support, how we can model structural supports and critically how this model behaviour compares to real life support conditions.


The first step in analysing most structures is determining the support reactions. It's a critical skill that needs to be honed before we can advance. In this lecture we'll present a variety of structures and demonstrate how the support reactions are calculated. We'll also introduce different load types such as uniformly and triangularly distributed loads.


The three equilibrium equations can only get us so far. In this lecture we'll identify the limitations of using equilibrium equations to determine support reactions. By the end of this lecture you will understand the difference between statically determinate and indeterminate structures.

11 pages

This lecture is your first checkpoint. Attempt all of the questions in this worksheet to test your understanding of everything we've done so far. A worked solution sheet and accompanying video are available in lecture 15 if you get stuck!

Section 2: Analysis of Pin-Jointed Structures (trusses)

In this lecture we introduce one of the most common forms of structure in the world, the pin-jointed truss. We'll focus on the details of the theoretical models we use in our analyses, discussing the key features of this type of structure and what makes it such an attractive structural form for civil and structural engineers.


As with all models we use in our analyses, they're an approximation of the behaviour of the real structure. As such their behaviour will be different depending on the simplifying assumptions we make. In this lecture we focus on some of the important differences between our analysis models and real trusses. By the end of this lecture you will have an appreciation for how your analysis relates to reality.


In this lecture we get into analysing pin-jointed structures to determine how forces are transmitted through the structure. By the end of this lecture you'll be able to use the 'Joint Resolution' method to determine the internal member forces within trusses and will appreciate how these elegant structures really work.


Now we introduce an alternative analysis method known as the Method of Sections. Based on the principle of equilibrium just like the joint resolution method, this analysis procedure gives us more flexibility when analysing larger structures. By the end of this lecture you will be able to employ the method of sections to analyse trusses and will understand when to use this method joint resolution.


The concept of statical determinacy introduced in lecture 7 also extends to pin-jointed structures. In this lecture we look at what it means in the context of pin-jointed structures. We'll introduce the concept of a mechanism as well as establish a simple test to determine the if a truss is statically determinate, indeterminate or a mechanism.


In this lecture I very briefly sum up what we've covered in this course. A second worksheet covering the material discussed in section 2 is also contained within the supplementary content of this lecture. This is your final checkpoint, use the questions in this worksheet to test your understanding of what we've covered in this course. Again, if you get stuck, a solution sheet and accompanying video is available in lecture 16.


This lecture contains the worked solutions to worksheet 1. Make sure you try to answer each question yourself before watching these solutions.


This lecture contains the worked solutions to worksheet 2. Make sure you try to answer each question yourself before watching these solutions.

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Instructor Biography

Dr Seán Carroll, BEng (Hons), MSc, PhD, CEng MIEI FHEA

Seán is a UK based lecturer in structural engineering and a chartered engineer. He holds a degree in structural engineering, a masters degree in civil engineering and a PhD also in civil engineering. After graduating in 2006, Seán worked for several years as a structural design engineer before pursuing a PhD in structural dynamics. In addition to his civil engineering research, Seán's other passion is teaching. Whether that's live in the lecture hall or here on Udemy. Seán is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in UK, a recognition of his commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in higher education.

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