Structure Standing Still: The Statics of Everyday Objects

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Course Date: 18 August 2014 to 29 September 2014 (6 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

The Statics of Everyday Objects is a course about how structures react to forces exerted on them while remaining unmoved.

Estimated Workload: 3-8 hours/week

Course Instructors

Dan Dickrell

Dan Dickrell is an Assistant Engineer in the College of Engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. He is also a member of the graduate research faculty in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE). He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida and has worked as a mechanical engineer at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, IL, Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, NM, and in private industry. 

Since 2007, Dr. Dickrell has taught various engineering design and mechanics courses in the MAE department (Statics, Mechanics of Materials, Introduction to Mechanical Design). He also teaches first-year course: Introduction to Engineering Design and Programming for the College of Engineering. In 2012-2013 academic year he was voted "Teacher of the Year" in the MAE department by students and faculty.

His scientific research interests include: soft contact lens tribology, electrical contact resistance of composite thin films, and design and fabrication of experimental tribometers. His academic research concentrates on the application of online technology in very-large enrollment engineering classes. 

He is an avid Brazilian jiu-jitsu player, photographer, and rock climber.

Course Description

The Statics of Everyday Objects is a course about the world and how it reacts to the forces acting on it. From suspension bridges holding up miles of roadway, to sky-scraping buildings in the midst hurricanes, to huge dams retaining billions of gallons of water in a reservoir, these structures must withstand both the forces of nature and the forces that mankind has intended for them. The analytical tools that designers use to create these structures are deceptively simple, and it is the intent of this course to explain things in a clear, straightforward manner.


This class will consist of lecture videos, which are between 8 and 20 minutes in length. These contain the necessary material and concepts to complete the course activities. There will also be standalone quizzes and a peer evaluated project. In addition to those required assignments, there will be optional, on-your-own problem sets that do not count towards your final grade. These problem sets are meant to reinforce concepts presented in lectures.

Course Workload

3-8 hours/week

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