Technology and Engineering Teacher
Beam, Concrete Beam Design, Moment of Inertia
Ask a middle or high school student if they could design a concrete beam that weighs only 20 pounds and is 36” long but must hold 600 pounds without failing. What is the student likely to say? What if the student was told that, with some optimized decision making based on relatively straightforward mathematics, their beam could hold 2400 pounds or more? The focus of this article is not on concrete beam design, it is rather an introduction to engineering principles in beam design using a lab activity. The concepts and skills learned in this article will lead students into concrete beam and form design and fabrication as well as the ability to precisely predict the amount of weight a concrete beam will hold during testing. An integral process of producing a concrete beam with a precisely predicted load causing failure is the emphasis of this and a subsequent article through a technical, hands-on activity involving the application of math, science, and engineering principles in the design, fabrication, and testing.
Hughes, A. J., & Merrill, C. (2020). Concrete Beam Design: Pouring the Foundation to Engineering in T&E Classrooms. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 79(4), 8-13.
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