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CIVL2511: Research Techniques (2015 - Semester 2)

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Unit: CIVL2511: Research Techniques (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Intermediate
Faculty/School: Civil Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Prof Airey, David
Session options: Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Site(s) for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: None.
Brief Handbook Description: The objectives of this unit are to introduce students to the philosophy and principles of measurement, and its uses in Civil Engineering practice and research. The instrumentation used in practice, the underlying physical principles and the basic electrical/electronic and signal processing issues. It will introduce students to issues in the planning and construction of experiments. Give experience working in groups and in producing reports.

At the end of this unit, students should gain an understanding of the importance of measurement, of the methods and application of measurement; ability to conduct experiments and interpret measurements. The course will reinforce key concepts in Structural Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Soil Mechanics and Surveying.

The syllabus comprises principles of measurement, presentation of data, error analysis, stress and strain, sensor types and technologies wave based techniques and wave analysis, photographic techniques, signal processing, electric circuit theory.
Assumed Knowledge: CIVL2201 AND ENGG1802. Basic understanding of Maths, Physics and Chemistry appropriate to student in 2nd year of study. Concepts of Force, Moment, Torque, Stress, Strain, Displacement, Velocity and Acceleration. These are covered in a range of courses but particularly CIVL2201 Structural Mechanics and ENGG1802 Engineering Mechanics
Lecturer/s: Prof Airey, David
Timetable: CIVL2511 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 2.00 2 8
2 Tutorial 2.00 2 8
3 Independent Study 2.00 1 13
4 Laboratory 2.00 1 6
5 Project Work - in class 4.00 2 6
6 Site Visit 2.00 1 2
7 Presentation 0.33 1 1
T&L Activities: Tutorial: Tutorials will be given following lectures to ensure understanding of the principles involved and to provide practice in applying the concepts.

Independent Study: Time to complete tutorial exercises, and to analyse and interpret data from the laboratory work

Laboratory: Laboratory exercises in the first six weeks provide experience with the main components of measurement systems. The project provides an opportunity for students to put course concepts into practice

Project Work - in class: Students will work in groups of 3 or 4 on projects which involve automated laboratory measurements of experiments in structures, soils and fluids

Site Visit: Two site visits are planned. One to see a cone truck used for site investigation, and its associated instrumentation. A second to a energy from waves project.

Presentation: A final presentation will be required to provide details of the project work.

Attributes listed here represent the key course goals (see Course Map tab) designated for this unit. The list below describes how these attributes are developed through practice in the unit. See Learning Outcomes and Assessment tabs for details of how these attributes are assessed.

Attribute Development Method Attribute Developed
The course will provide basic knowledge of electric and electronic circuits and their analysis. It will reinforce the concepts of stress and strain introduced in prior courses, provide knowledge of the physical principles behind a range of transducers, and explain the issues associated with measurement. Maths/Science Methods and Tools (Level 3)
Information resources will be used to locate information on measurement techniques and applications. Information Seeking (Level 1)
Students will be required to write group reports and give oral presentations, making use of appropriate graphical and mathematical techniques, and the group project work will require students to develop successful teamwork strategies, and reinforce the importance of good communication. Communication (Level 2)
Students will have to function effectively as team members. Professional Conduct (Level 1)

For explanation of attributes and levels see Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 2)
1. An understanding of the importance of measurement in Civil Engineering
Maths/Science Methods and Tools (Level 3)
2. Familiarity with methods and application of measurement.
3. Understanding of the fundamentals of electric circuits and electronics and of their importance to measurement
4. An improved awareness of the magnitudes of the physical quantities used in design calculations.
5. Improved ability to plan, conduct and interpret experiments.
Communication (Level 2)
6. Development of the ability to communicate effectively to an engineering audience, through report writing and oral presentations
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Lab Report Yes 15.00 Week 6 2, 6,
2 Participation Yes 5.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 2, 4,
3 Quiz No 25.00 Week 9 3,
4 Quiz No 25.00 Week 12 1, 2, 3,
5 Project Yes 30.00 Week 13 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
Assessment Description: Lab Report: Laboratory report describing tin can crushing experiment and data analysis. Report includes brief summary of laboratory exercises conducted in weeks 1 to 4.

Project: Group project

Quiz: Quiz on electric circuit theory. Tests individual understanding of student, and provides feedback on standards expected

Quiz: Test on lecture material related to measurement fundamentals, stress and strain and measurement of these, measurement of other physical quantities, data analysis and interpretation including signal analysis

Participation: Tutorial work. Participation in tutorials and solving tutorial problems
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
Recommended Reference/s: Note: References are provided for guidance purposes only. Students are advised to consult these books in the university library. Purchase is not required.
Online Course Content:

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Introduction, Measurement principles, Electric circuit analysis principles.
Week 2 Measurement principles, Data presentation, Errors, Statistics, Resistive electric circuits, Node-voltage analysis.
Week 3 Measurement of position motion, and direction, Mesh-current analysis, Equivalent circuits, Superposition principle, Wheatsone bridge.
Week 4 Measurement of stress and strain, Mohr's circles, Inductance and capacitance.
Week 5 Measurement of load and pressure, load cell design, Operational amplifiers.
Week 6 Measurement of mass, volume, fluid level and flow, Instrumentation Amplifiers, Signal conditioning, Noise, Aliasing.
Assessment Due: Lab Report
Week 7 Measurement of temperature, Photogrammetry, Other measurement techniques.
Week 8 Waves based measurement, Spectral Analysis.
Week 9 Spectral analysis, Project work.
Assessment Due: Quiz
Week 10 No lectures, Project work.
Week 11 Measurement in Geotechnical Engineering Practice.
Week 12 Measurement in Fluids Engineering Practice.
Assessment Due: Quiz
Week 13 Project Presentations
Assessment Due: Project

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Civil Engineering / Medical Science 2011
Civil Engineering / Arts 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering 2015
Civil / Arts 2015
Civil / Project Management 2015
Civil (Construction Management) 2015
Civil (Environmental) 2015
Civil (Geotechnical) 2015
Civil (Structures) 2015
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) / Science 2011
Bachelor of Project Management (Built Environment) 2018, 2016, 2017
Bachelor of Project Management (Civil Engineering Science) 2018, 2016, 2017
Bachelor of Project Management (Software) 2018, 2016, 2017
Civil / Commerce 2015
Civil / Design in Architecture 2015
Bachelor of Project Management (Built Environment) Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018
Bachelor of Project Management (Civil Engineering Science) Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018
Bachelor of Project Management (Software) Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
Project and Team Skills (Level 1) No 0%
Design (Level 2) No 0%
Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 2) No 15%
Maths/Science Methods and Tools (Level 3) Yes 72.5%
Information Seeking (Level 1) Yes 0%
Communication (Level 2) Yes 12.5%
Professional Conduct (Level 1) Yes 0%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.