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Unit of study_

CIVL6268: Structural Dynamics

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit introduces the fundamental concepts and theory of dynamic analysis. In a first step, free vibrations are studied and the problem of determining the natural frequency of a system is addressed. This is followed by the study of harmonically excited vibrations. While initially systems with a single degree of freedom (SDOF) are considered, the theory is generalized to cover multi-degree of freedom systems. The theory is applied to explain how structures are designed against earthquake actions with specific reference to Parts 4 of the Australian loading standard AS1170 for determining earthquake loads. This unit will provide students with the following knowledge and skills: Understanding of the fundamental concepts and definitions used in structural dynamics; Ability to calculate the natural frequency of a system using equilibrium or energy methods; Ability to determine the effect of viscous damping on the response of a freely vibrating system; Ability to determine the response of a system to a harmonic excitation; Ability to apply AS1170 Part 4 in structural design against earthquake actions; Understanding of the fundamental concepts of earthquake engineering

Unit details and rules

Unit code CIVL6268
Academic unit Civil Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Students are assumed to have a good knowledge of fundamental structural analysis, which is covered in the courses of Structural Mechanics, Introduction to Structural Concepts and Design, Structural Analysis, and Finite Element Analysis.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Hao Zhang,
Tutor(s) Diqi Zeng,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam final exam
final exam, open book, open notes
65% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Creative assessment / demonstration Assignment
35% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.’

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Differential equations of motion; free vibration Lecture (3 hr) LO1
Week 02 Response to harmonic loading and impulse loading Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 03 Nonlinear and hysteretic damping Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 04 Forced response of multi-degree freedom linear systems Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 05 Matrix methods for multi-degree freedom systems Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 06 Numerical evaluation of dynamic response Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 07 Earthquake response of linear systems Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Modal analysis for linear systems Lecture (3 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 09 Earthquake response and design of multistory buildings Lecture (3 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Earthquake analysis and design of inelastic buildings Lecture (3 hr) LO5 LO6
Week 11 Structural dynamics in Australian building code AS/NZ1170.4 Lecture (3 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Design of Earthquake resistant buildings Lecture (3 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. calculate the natural frequency of a system using equilibrium or energy methods
  • LO2. determine the effect of viscous damping on the response of a freely vibrating system
  • LO3. determine the response of a system to a harmonic excitation
  • LO4. apply AS1170 Part 4 in structural design against earthquake actions
  • LO5. demonstrate understanding of the fundamental concepts and definitions used in structural dynamics
  • LO6. demonstrate understanding of the fundamental concepts of earthquake engineering.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

modified the learning activities


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