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Infrastructure Design Challenges
Updated: 11/13/2018 8:59 AM by Michael Johnson
In this semester long project, students design a bridge, dam, and water tower for specific locations. Students comment on the technical, economic, and societal considerations in regards to the various sub-disciplines of civil engineering. Villanova implemented this project in a Mechanics course with 60 students.

The project consists of six worksheets; each requiring individual work, group discussion, and instructor facilitation for 25 minutes of class. The bridge design challenges students to create an infrastructure for Philadelphia, and the water tower must store and supply water for a rural village of 500 people in a randomly selected developing country. Student groups are tasked with developing a summary design, construction, and maintenance plan for each infrastructure challenge. This project could be implemented by anyone looking to bring real engineering constraints from the developing world into a Mechanics or Statics course.
Learning Objectives
1. Apply selected vector operations to two or more vectors.
2. Solve various types of 2-D and 3-D equilibrium problems.
3. Analyze statically determinate trusses.
4. Calculate selected properties of an area or volume including centroid and moment of inertia about a given axis.
5. Calculate internal normal and shear stresses.
6. Develop the stress-strain relationships for and discuss key characteristics of various steels.
7. Compute elongations in axially loaded members.
8. Calculate the buckling load for axially loaded columns.
9. Solve simple particle dynamics problems involving dry friction.
10. Produce professional quality calculations that are neat and well organized.
  • Demonstrate constant curiosity about our changing world
  • Assess and manage risk
Creating Value
  • Identify unexpected opportunities to create extraordinary value
  • Determine Design Requirements
  • Perform Technical Design
  • Analyze Solutions
  • Identify Opportunity
  • Evaluate Tech Feasibility, Customer Value, Societal Benefits & Economic Viability
  • Communicate Solution in Economic Terms
  • Develop Partnerships & Build Team
  • Communicate Societal Benefits
  • Civil Engineering
This folder includes an introduction to the project, class syllabus, learning outcomes, and suggested adaptations.
Title Type Ext Date Size
Introduction Instructor Notes .pdf 1/2/2018 71.6 KB
Syllabus.pdf Syllabus .pdf 1/2/2018 1.2 MB
Learning Outcomes.pdf Other .pdf 1/2/2018 142.6 KB
Adaptations Other .pdf 1/2/2018 50.8 KB
This folder includes the lecture notes introducing the overarching project and the worksheets for each aspect of the project.
Title Type Ext Date Size
CEE 2105 KEEN Supplemental Survey 2014.pdf Assessment / Rubric .pdf 1/2/2018 109.8 KB
KEEN Lecture 3 and Handouts Mechanics I Villanova.pdf Presentation .pdf 1/2/2018 617.1 KB
Lecture 03.pptx Presentation .pptx 1/2/2018 2.5 MB
Problem K1-1.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/2/2018 490.9 KB
Problem K1-2.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/2/2018 491 KB
Problem K2-1.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/2/2018 490.7 KB
Problem K2-2.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/2/2018 490.8 KB
Problem K3-1.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/2/2018 491 KB
Problem K3-2.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/2/2018 491.1 KB
Problem K3-3.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/2/2018 490.3 KB
Problem K3-4.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/2/2018 642.2 KB
Problem K3-5.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/2/2018 491.6 KB
Problem K3-6.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/2/2018 497.9 KB
This folder includes student presentations.
Title Type Ext Date Size
Web Link to Final Presentations Student Artifact / Example 1/2/2018 -
1st Water Tower Activity.pptx Student Artifact / Example .pptx 1/2/2018 525.6 KB
1st Water Tower_Gerard.pptx Student Artifact / Example .pptx 1/2/2018 672.2 KB
Ghana Final Presentation.pptx Student Artifact / Example .pptx 1/2/2018 3.5 MB
Nicaragua Mechanics Final.pptx Student Artifact / Example .pptx 1/2/2018 2.3 MB
This folder contains photos from the course.
Title Type Ext Date Size
2017 1st class introducing KEEN.jpg Other .jpg 1/2/2018 189.5 KB
2017 Grand Challenges and Design in Developing Countries.jpg Other .jpg 1/2/2018 116.6 KB
2017 K sheet work.jpg Other .jpg 1/2/2018 263.5 KB
2017 Students working on Overarching Problem in Flex Period.jpg Other .jpg 1/2/2018 262.2 KB
2017 Students working on their first K sheet.jpg Other .jpg 1/2/2018 261.5 KB
2017 Final Presentation.jpg Other .jpg 1/2/2018 209.5 KB
This folder contains a publication about the use of overarching problems in courses.
Title Type Ext Date Size
Use of Structured Overarching Problems _ASEE Regional_.pdf Other .pdf 1/2/2018 627.4 KB