The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 10:31cat

TrussMe! Ipad App Lets Users Become Structural Engineers

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TrussMe! scores designs based on how efficient they are TrussMe! scores designs based on how efficient they are Scietific Monkey

There is an app in the Apple App Store that allows users of all ages and experience level, play the role of a structural engineer. TrussMe!, created by Scientific Monkey, provides players with a load and several structural members. The user must design a truss to support the load using the supplied members and supports.  Each member has a different cross sectional area, and thus a different weight. 

The app scores each truss based on how heavy its members are. Each design that successfully supports the level’s weight is awarded one to three golden nuts, with three being the best most economical design possible. If the design is not strong enough to support the load, the weakest truss member will fail (and be identified) and the rest of the truss will collapse. The app even tells you whether the member failed in tension or compression. An aerospace engineering professor who specializes in structures and materials developed the app. According to Scientific Monkey’s website, TrussMe! can handle material and geometric nonlinearities as well as dynamic failure of its members.

A user will quickly realize that simply replacing the failed member with a larger member may not result in the most economical design. Instead, they may need to completely rethink their truss design to receive the best score. The app also features a freestyle mode that gives users the freedom to specify what load the truss needs to support and the location and type of supports. For $1.99, the app provides a few hours of fun trying to get a perfect score on each level. Try to compare how your designs perform compared to friends and family members who are not engineers!


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