As technologies evolve, academia must follow suit to best use these technological strides to advance structures for better reliability and overall safety. One such advancement is subsumed under the title “smart structures,” which use smart materials possessing unique qualities to collectively generate an adaptive structural system. Although the smart structure concept is widely used in the mechanical and aerospace engineering industries, the civil engineering community has been slow to adopt it because of system complexity and high cost. In addition, many universities still do not include smart structures in their curricula, which has hindered their broad implementation into modern structures. This paper presents a specialized course on smart structures designed to further the use of smart technologies in engineering education and ultimately the real-world. Included in the background is a look at institutions that already provide classes on the subject and a description of how one school (i.e., Texas A&M University) organized the class, including lab demonstrations, homework, projects, and lecture outline, as well as student evaluations of the class.
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Associate Professor, Zachry Dept. of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843-3136 (corresponding author). E-mail: [email protected]
Structural Engineer-in-Training, Jaster Quintanilla, San Antonio 78209.
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Zachry Dept. of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843-3136.
Received: January 15, 2010
Accepted: March 30, 2011
Published online: December 15, 2011
© 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers