ENEQ624-24X (C) General non-calendar-based 2024

Nonlinear Structural Analysis and Dynamics

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 1 April 2024
End Date: Sunday, 9 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 14 April 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 19 May 2024


The objective of this course is for students to develop the necessary theoretical understanding of the principles of nonlinear structural analysis.

The objective of this course is for students to develop the necessary theoretical understanding of the principles of nonlinear structural analysis and dynamics. This subject matter is essential to understand structures that respond nonlinearly with extreme and time-varying loading. It is particularly relevant for structural engineers in New Zealand that deal with day-to-day analysis of complex inelastic structures subject to earthquake forces from time to time during seismic events.

Given the current advancement of computer technology, many user-friendly software have been developed and made available in the design office for structural engineers to conduct nonlinear analysis at ease. However, these software are usually designed as a black box that hides all the core calculation processes. Without sufficient understanding of the principles, structural engineers could run a risk of committing the crime of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) in the analyses, and without realizing it. This course sets out to equip students with this understanding. Given the fact that most analysis software come with very detailed user manuals, this course will not provide step-by-step instructions in using software, but, rather, will focus on the principles and equip students with sufficient understanding to conduct their analyses correctly.

This course is essential for students who are interested in advanced methods of analysis for structural engineering, but the same principles covered in the course can also be applied to other disciplines including geotechnical, structural fire, fluid, and mechanical engineering. While this course contains a sizeable amount of theoretical detail, the emphasis is on students gaining a holistic view of the salient features of the nonlinear analysis of inelastic structures. In addition to the way in which the lectures are presented, such emphasis will be achieved via the use of numerous examples and application-based assignments using software. Particular emphasis is given to earthquake engineering problems.

The course includes topics on geometrical and material nonlinearity, structural stability, structural elements (fibre section, beam-column element and plastic hinge element), nonlinear solution strategy, constraints, damping, and response history analysis.

While there is no pre-requisite for this course, students interested in enrolling should be conversant with basic knowledge in engineering mathematics, solid mechanics, structural analysis, and structural dynamics. Any needed advanced knowledge not usually available in typical undergraduate curricula in civil engineering will be taught in the course.

Course Content:
Module 0: Preliminary on matrix structural analysis
Module 1: Introduction to nonlinear structural analysis
Module 2: Nonlinear materials
Module 3: Fibre sections
Module 4: Beam-column elements
Module 5: Nonlinear geometry and stability
Module 6: Solution strategies
Module 7: Linear dynamics
Module 8: Nonlinear dynamics

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course students should be able to:
- Understand and explain basic principles and numerical procedures of nonlinear structural analysis and dynamics, its capabilities and limitations;
- Develop and apply independently the new analysis skills and techniques to solve engineering problems in their industrial practice and academic research; and
- Study and review independently the cutting-edge literatures in relevant fields.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department or Programme Co-ordinator.

Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Intensive Block Course A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00 Wheki 102
1 Apr - 7 Apr
Intensive Block Course B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 09:00 - 17:00 Wheki 102
1 Apr - 7 Apr
Intensive Block Course C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 09:00 - 17:00 Wheki 102
15 Apr - 21 Apr
Intensive Block Course D
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00 Wheki 102
15 Apr - 21 Apr
Intensive Block Course E
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00 Wheki 102
3 Jun - 9 Jun

Course Coordinator

Chin-Long Lee


The assessment for this paper will comprise three components – assignments, a test and a project. Both test and project will focus on theoretical and practical (but not simulation-intensive) aspects of the course. The assignments will be used to ensure you have an adequate grasp of the theoretical basis of the taught material.

1. You cannot pass this course unless you achieve a mark of at least 40% in the mid-semester test and final exam. A student who narrowly fails to achieve 40% in either the test or the exam, but who performs very well in the other, may be eligible for a pass in the course.
2. All assignments must be submitted by the due date. Late submissions will not be accepted. If a student is unable to complete and submit an assignment by the deadline due to personal circumstances beyond their control they should discuss this with the lecturer involved as soon as possible (preferably prior to the due date) and refer to points 5 and 6 below.
3. All assignments must be done individually. Project is to be done in pairs. More information about the project will come after the first block of lectures.
4. Students in this course can apply for special consideration provided they have sat the test and submitted the project.
5. Students may apply for special consideration if their performance in an assessment is affected by extenuating circumstances beyond their control. Applications for special consideration should be submitted via the Examinations Office website within five days of the assessment. However, where an extension may be granted for an assessment, this will be decided by direct application to the Course co-ordinator and an application to the Examinations Office may not be required. Special consideration is not available for items worth less than 10% of the course.
6. Students prevented by extenuating circumstances from completing the course after the final date for withdrawing, may apply for special consideration for late discontinuation of the course. Applications must be submitted to the Examinations Office within five days of the end of the main examination period for the semester.

Textbooks / Resources

Copies of course materials will be made available during lectures. The following lists some reference materials that you may find useful:

1. Bozorgnia, Y., & Bertero, V. V. (Eds.). (2004). Earthquake engineering: from engineering seismology to performance-based engineering. CRC press. (note: read chapter 6)
2. McGuire, W., Gallagher, R.H. & Ziemian, R.D. (2000). Matrix Structural Analysis. 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons. (note: free to download from MASTAN2 website)
3. Deierlein, G.G., Reinhorn, A.M. & Willford, M.R. (2010) Nonlinear structural analysis for seismic design, NEHRP seismic design technical brief 4, 1–36.
4. Simo, J.C. & Hughes, T.J.R. (1998). Computational Inelasticity, Springer.
5. Chopra, A.K. (2016). Dynamics of structures - Theory and Applications to Earthquake Engineering. Pearson. 5th edition.
6. Paultre, P. (2010). Dynamics of Structures. Wiley-ISTE. 1st Edition
7. Crisfield, M.A. (1991). Non-linear finite element analysis of solids and structures (Vol. 1: Essentials). Wiley.
8. Crisfield, M.A. (1997). Non-linear finite element analysis of solids and structures (Vol. 2: Advanced Topics). Wiley.
9. Jirásek, M., & Bazant, Z.P. (2002). Inelastic analysis of structures. John Wiley & Sons.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,197.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering .

All ENEQ624 Occurrences

  • ENEQ624-24X (C) General non-calendar-based 2024