What Is Structural Engineering
Structural engineering is a specialty of civil engineering
that deals with the design and analysis of structures used to support loads in the most economical manner, with maximum element of safety. The loads applied could be of a varied nature, including the load on bridges due to traffic, effect of strong winds on high buildings, load on structures because of variation in temperatures caused due to changes in weather, and load due to earthquakes. Specialties of structural engineering are building engineering, industrial structures, and pipeline engineering. Structural engineering has a significant influence on the life, healthiness, and goods of people, due to which extra vigilance is required during the construction and inspection of the structures.
History Of Structural Engineering
Structural engineering has been in use since ages, and one of the greatest ancient structures was the Pyramid of Giza that was constructed in the 26th century BC. The major structures during the medieval period were the pyramids since the shape of the pyramids is basically stable. Theoretical knowledge about the structures was limited, and construction techniques were based on experience only. The real advancement in the structural engineering was achieved in the 19th century during the industrial revolution when significant progress was achieved in the sciences of structural analysis and materials science.
Modern Growth In Structural Engineering
Due to the rapid growth of computer technology and other sciences, there has been a radical advancement in the science of structural engineering. Powerful computers have enabled the use of the finite element analysis, for carrying out the design and structural analysis. Programs of the finite element analysis can now precisely foresee the distribution of stresses in structures, and indicate where the structures may bend or twist due to these stresses. These programs offer numerous simulation options in the field of modeling and analysis of different systems. Other topics that have been developed in the modern period are composite materials, fatigue, and vibration control.
Structural building engineering is ba
sed on the manipulation of materials and the scientific and mathematical theories to obtain structures that are safe when subjected to the applied loads, meet the functional requirements, and are economical. The structural design of a building should make sure that the building will resist extreme deflections that may generate fatigue in the structural elements, or cause failure of fixtures and partitions. Science of structural engineering is utilized in the construction of bridges, earthworks, foundations, dams, roads, and other structures. A structure basically includes columns, beams, archways, and other elements. Structural engineering essentially utilizes physical testing, modeling, and computer simulation to create structures that are safe and economical.
Structural failure is the loss of the load bearing capacity of a member of a structure, o
r the complete structure. Failure or extreme deformations of a structure occur when the material is subjected to its limit of strength. When the limit of the load bearing capacity is reached, damage to the member or the structure has taken place. Chances of structural failure can be minimized by reducing human error, carrying out proper hazard identification, and adopting suitable maintenance procedures for the structures.