In this intensive minor you come to grips with structures used in civil construction and infrastructure. You will learn about the specific properties and potential applications of both new and recycled building materials. Examples include concrete, glass, plaster, cement, steel, asphalt, the dynamic interaction between train and rails and the failure mechanics of thin-walled structures. You will work together with a group of people from different departments to come up with solutions, analyse them and then build and test them in the lab. Workshops and lectures will provide support and background information. Learning about the various specific fields will help you to put what you have learned into its context. Important goals are to learn about construction materials, acquire experimental skills, gain experience of construction disciplines and learn how to work well in a small group. These experiences can help build your self-confidence for when you later encounter construction materials and structures in civil engineering.
The Railway part of this Minor concerns the technical aspects of railway track design. When a train travels over a track the forces acting on both the track and the vehicle. In some cases, such as at switches & crossings, curves, transitions at bridges, high temperature variation, high speeds etc. these forces can be extremely high. These forces can cause track failure (rail breakage, track buckling etc.) or/and train derailment. On a long term these forces contribute to deterioration of a track structure causing ballast/soil settlements, rail wear etc. Also, passenger’s comfort can deteriorate as well. When designing a track these aspects should be taken into account.
Due to high dimensions of railway tracks/trains, scaled track models (1:7 and 1:67) are used in this course. Next to the model building activities, where students propose, design and demonstrate improvements on rail track design themselves, additional lectures and excursions are planned explaining the fundamentals and complex challenges of Railway Engineering.