From Wood to Steel
Properties of Materials

The Great Courses
Show More

If you are a student or a professor:

Watch now

If you are a librarian or a professor:

Related videos

Post Ductility - Metals in Architecture and Structural Engineering
Filmed in September/October 2009 at the third Columbia Conference on architecture, engineering and materials. Few concepts are as central in structural engineering as the ability of a material to sustain plastic deformation under tensile stress. The standardization of historically known deformation limits or ductile properties in most materials allows architects…
Rick Joy: Interludes
Rick Joy, an architect based in Tucson, Arizona, owes his reputation to his innovative residential designs, which respond gracefully to their desert environment. Joy exploits natural and passive energy-saving techniques and unusual materials, such as rammed earth and rusting steel, to create striking architectural solutions for living in a hot,…
Learning to See and Understand Structure
How are ideas for buildings, bridges, and towers transformed from sketches to concrete reality? What are the three essential qualities that make a structure great? What's the difference between seeing a structure and actually understanding it?
Out of Many, One: Composites
Episode 23 of The Nature of Matter
When different materials combine to create something very unlike its individual components, you have a composite. Learn what gives composites superior properties. Explore a wide range of examples, including concrete, carbon fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar, automobile tires, carbon nanotubes, and aerogel.
The Substance of Technology—Materials
Study the engineering materials available in classical antiquity. First look at the simple physics of compression and tension. Then consider six specific materials: stone, wood, clay, copper, bronze, and iron. Examine how they came into use and how their properties influenced the design of technological systems.
Suspension Bridges: The Battle of the Cable
After learning the science behind suspension bridges, begin your two-episode look at these structural marvels. Here, relive the Battle of the Cable, in which 19th-century engineers struggled over whether to build suspension cables from iron chains (as in England's Menai Strait Bridge) or steel wire (as in the Brooklyn Bridge).
New Horizons
This film is about architects and artists who have broken new ground, developing original ideas and using new building materials. We meet a sculptor in Texas who has spent his last ten years welding a poetic house of steel; we see underground homes in New Mexico whose designs were inspired…
Great Cantilever Bridges: Tragedy and Triumph
Professor Ressler shows how structural catastrophes produced two bridges that provide a wonderful opportunity to see and understand structure: Scotland's Firth of Forth Bridge and Canada's second Quebec Bridge. You'll also gain insights into the human element of engineering, and the reasons structures turn out the way they do.
The Beauty and Versatility of Modern Concrete
Concrete, the world's most commonly used construction material, has been used in buildings that are anything but common. See concrete's versatility at work in an incredible range of structures, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, the Salginatobel Bridge in the Swiss Alps, and Dubai's Burj Khalifa (currently the world's tallest building).
Loads and Structural Systems
Structures are heavily influenced by the loads they're designed to carry. First, take a closer look at the most important loads structures must resist, including traffic loads and earthquake loads. Then, using the historic iron building at Watervliet Arsenal in New York, analyze how loads are actually transmitted through structural…
Amazing Thin Shells: Strength from Curvature
Thin shells are unique structural elements that use curvature: cylindrical, dome-like, or saddle-like: to attain strength and stiffness. See these three types of thin shells used creatively in buildings ranging from St. Paul's Cathedral in London to the Zeiss planetarium in Germany to the Trans World Flight Center at New…