Use of Spreadsheet Programs in Teaching Reinforced Concrete Design
T. H. Wenzel
Appears on pages(s):
beams (supports); computer programs; reinforced concrete; education; structural design; Design
The computer-aided design field is expanding rapidly. There is an abundance of commercial and public domain software that is available. It is no longer necessary to write programs to introduce students to computer-aided design. The availability of spreadsheet programs has added a new dimension to computer-aided design. The principal advantage of a spreadsheet program is that it allows a series of relational steps to be programmed without having to know a programming language or having to write formal program statements. In addition, if a change is made in a particular step of a program, changes are automatically made in steps affected by that change. This can be a significant advantage in teaching reinforced concrete design. Students can use the templates created by the spreadsheet programs to answer "what if" questions about design. In this paper, several programs for the flexural design and shear design of reinforced concrete beams are described. These programs are not written in a programming language but are formulated with a spreadsheet program. The programs were run on a mainframe computer. The basic formulation of a spreadsheet program is described. Advantages of using spreadsheet programs in computer-aided design and their application in undergraduate courses in reinforced concrete design are discussed.