3.4211686879579 (1814)
Posted by sonny 03/02/2009 @ 07:38

Tags : engineering, sciences, construction, business

News headlines
Marquette engineering school gets $5M for renewable energy chair -
Marquette University College of Engineering will establish an endowed chair in secure and renewable energy systems after receiving a pledge of $5 million from California couple Thomas and Suzanne Werner, it was announced Wednesday evening....
County Board OKs sale for UWM engineering campus - Chicago Tribune
AP MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee County Board gave its OK Thursday to selling mostly open land at the old County Grounds in Wauwatosa for a new University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee engineering campus. The board rejected arguments it should be nearer...
UCLA Engineering receives $2M gift to fund carbon nanotube research - UC Los Angeles
D. Easton Inc., has given $2 million to the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science to fund research on advanced carbon materials for sports equipment and aerospace applications. "Few institutions have the capabilities and...
Where there's a will: Xerox CEO Burns show the way to success for ... - New York Daily News
Ursula Burns thought she could run Xerox the day she arrived at the iconic copy-machine company in 1980 as a mechanical engineering intern fresh out of Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn. How New York is that? Burns was also fresh from the projects on...
India Moves to Boost Engineering Prowess - PC World
IEEE, an association of technical professionals, plans to launch a training and certification program in India in tandem with industry and educational institutions, to get around the problem of falling standards at the country's engineering colleges....
Consultant pushes more ambitious streetcar plan - Chicago Tribune
The latest plan by Charlie Hales of HDR Engineering is for a four-mile route that would cost about $100 million to build. It is considerably more ambitious than the two- to three-mile route proposed by Hales only four months ago....
INTECSEA secures Rosebank facilities engineering services contract - Offshore Oil and Gas Magazine
HOUSTON -- Chevron Energy Technology has awarded INTECSEA a facilities engineering services contract for the current phase of the Rosebank project. The field is located in the West of Shetland area on the UK Continental Shelf in approximately 3700 ft...
Japan Stocks: IHI, Nippon Steel, Sanyo, Sumco, Sumitomo Heavy - Bloomberg
Fuji Electric Engineering (1775 JT) will be the surviving entity after absorbing Furukawa Engineering (1778 JP) in October. Fuji Electric Holdings slid 1.3 percent to 158 yen. Furukawa Electric rose 1.3 percent to 323 yen....
Wow! Local teens take third place at international science and ... - KOAA
Two Palmer High School sophomores, Laura Gudvangen and Tonya Pavlenko, earned a third place award in the team project category at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Reno, NV. Listen to this--the teens discovered a way to initiate an...
Monaco: Racing Engineering GP2 Feature Race Recap - First Podium ... - PaddockTalk
This, together with a very fast tyre change on his Fat Burner Racing Engineering car, allowed Lucas to rejoin the race ahead of Zuber and Hulkenberg in 3rd position; and without any real danger from those two drivers, Lucas finished the race with his...


The Watt steam engine, a major driver in the industrial revolution, underscores the importance of engineering in modern history. This model is on display at the main building of the ETSIIM in Madrid, Spain

One who practices engineering is called an engineer, and those licensed to do so may have more formal designations such as European Engineer, Professional Engineer, Chartered Engineer, or Incorporated Engineer. The broad discipline of engineering encompasses a range of more specialized subdisciplines, each with a more specific emphasis on certain fields of application and particular areas of technology.

The concept of engineering has existed since ancient times as humans devised fundamental inventions such as the pulley, lever, and wheel. Each of these inventions is consistent with the modern definition of engineering, exploiting basic mechanical principles to develop useful tools and objects.

Later, as the design of civilian structures such as bridges and buildings matured as a technical discipline, the term civil engineering entered the lexicon as a way to distinguish between those specializing in the construction of such non-military projects and those involved in the older discipline of military engineering (the original meaning of the word “engineering,” now largely obsolete, with notable exceptions that have survived to the present day such as military engineering corps, e. g., the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers).

The Acropolis and the Parthenon in Greece, the Roman aqueducts, Via Appia and the Colosseum, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Pharos of Alexandria, the pyramids in Egypt, Teotihuacán and the cities and pyramids of the Mayan, Inca and Aztec Empires, the Great Wall of China, among many others, stand as a testament to the ingenuity and skill of the ancient civil and military engineers.

The earliest civil engineer known by name is Imhotep. As one of the officials of the Pharaoh, Djosèr, he probably designed and supervised the construction of the Pyramid of Djoser (the Step Pyramid) at Saqqara in Egypt around 2630-2611 BC. He may also have been responsible for the first known use of columns in architecture.

Ancient Greece developed machines in both in the civilian and military domains. The Antikythera mechanism, the earliest known model of a mechanical computer in history, and the mechanical inventions of Archimedes are examples of early mechanical engineering. Some of Archimedes' inventions as well as the Antikythera mechanism required sophisticated knowledge of differential gearing or epicyclic gearing, two key principles in machine theory that helped design the gear trains of the Industrial revolution and are still widely used today in diverse fields such as robotics and automotive engineering.

Chinese and Roman armies employed complex military machines including the Ballista and catapult. In the Middle Ages, the Trebuchet was developed.

An Iraqi by the name of al-Jazari helped influence the design of today's modern machines when sometime in between 1174 and 1200 he built five machines to pump water for the kings of the Turkish Artuqid dynasty and their palaces. The double-acting reciprocating piston pump was instrumental in the later development of engineering in general because it was the first machine to incorporate both the connecting rod and the crankshaft, thus, converting rotational motion to reciprocating motion.

It is impossible to over emphasize the importance of al-Jazari's work in the history of engineering, Until modern times there is no other document from any cultural area that provides a comparable wealth of instructions for the design, manufacture and assembly of machines...

Even today some toys still use the cam-lever mechanism found in al-Jazari's combination lock and automaton. Besides over 50 ingenious mechanical devices, al-Jazari also developed and made innovations to segmental gears, mechanical controls, escapement mechanisms, clocks, robotics, and protocols for designing and manufacturing methods.

The first electrical engineer is considered to be William Gilbert, with his 1600 publication of De Magnete, who was the originator of the term "electricity".

The first steam engine was built in 1698 by mechanical engineer Thomas Savery. The development of this device gave rise to the industrial revolution in the coming decades, allowing for the beginnings of mass production.

With the rise of engineering as a profession in the eighteenth century, the term became more narrowly applied to fields in which mathematics and science were applied to these ends. Similarly, in addition to military and civil engineering the fields then known as the mechanic arts became incorporated into engineering.

Electrical Engineering can trace its origins in the experiments of Alessandro Volta in the 1800s, the experiments of Michael Faraday, Georg Ohm and others and the invention of the electric motor in 1872. The work of James Maxwell and Heinrich Hertz in the late 19th century gave rise to the field of Electronics. The later inventions of the vacuum tube and the transistor further accelerated the development of Electronics to such an extent that electrical and electronics engineers currently outnumber their colleagues of any other Engineering specialty.

The inventions of Thomas Savery and the Scottish engineer James Watt gave rise to modern Mechanical Engineering. The development of specialized machines and their maintenance tools during the industrial revolution led to the rapid growth of Mechanical Engineering both in its birthplace Britain and abroad.

Chemical Engineering, like its counterpart Mechanical Engineering, developed in the nineteenth century during the Industrial Revolution. Industrial scale manufacturing demanded new materials and new processes and by 1880 the need for large scale production of chemicals was such that a new industry was created, dedicated to the development and large scale manufacturing of chemicals in new industrial plants. The role of the chemical engineer was the design of these chemical plants and processes.

Aeronautical Engineering deals with aircraft design while Aerospace Engineering is a more modern term that expands the reach envelope of the discipline by including spacecraft design. Its origins can be traced back to the aviation pioneers around the turn of the century from the 19th century to the 20th although the work of Sir George Cayley has recently been dated as being from the last decade of the 18th century. Early knowledge of aeronautical engineering was largely empirical with some concepts and skills imported from other branches of engineering. Only a decade after the successful flights by the Wright brothers, the 1920s saw extensive development of aeronautical engineering through development of World War I military aircraft. Meanwhile, research to provide fundamental background science continued by combining theoretical physics with experiments.

The first PhD in engineering (technically, applied science and engineering) awarded in the United States went to Willard Gibbs at Yale University in 1863; it was also the second PhD awarded in science in the U.S.

In 1990, with the rise of computer technology, the first search engine was built by computer engineer Alan Emtage.

With the rapid advancement of Technology many new fields are gaining prominence and new branches are developing such as Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Nanotechnology, Molecular engineering, Mechatronics etc. These new specialties sometimes combine with the traditional fields and form new branches such as Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

For each of these fields there exists considerable overlap, especially in the areas of the application of sciences to their disciplines such as physics, chemistry and mathematics.

Engineers apply the sciences of physics and mathematics to find suitable solutions to problems or to make improvements to the status quo. More than ever, Engineers are now required to have knowledge of relevant sciences for their design projects, as a result, they keep on learning new material throughout their career. If multiple options exist, engineers weigh different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best matches the requirements. The crucial and unique task of the engineer is to identify, understand, and interpret the constraints on a design in order to produce a successful result. It is usually not enough to build a technically successful product; it must also meet further requirements. Constraints may include available resources, physical, imaginative or technical limitations, flexibility for future modifications and additions, and other factors, such as requirements for cost, safety, marketability, productibility, and serviceability. By understanding the constraints, engineers derive specifications for the limits within which a viable object or system may be produced and operated.

Engineers use their knowledge of science, mathematics, and appropriate experience to find suitable solutions to a problem. Engineering is considered a branch of applied mathematics and science. Creating an appropriate mathematical model of a problem allows them to analyze it (sometimes definitively), and to test potential solutions. Usually multiple reasonable solutions exist, so engineers must evaluate the different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best meets their requirements. Genrich Altshuller, after gathering statistics on a large number of patents, suggested that compromises are at the heart of "low-level" engineering designs, while at a higher level the best design is one which eliminates the core contradiction causing the problem.

Engineers typically attempt to predict how well their designs will perform to their specifications prior to full-scale production. They use, among other things: prototypes, scale models, simulations, destructive tests, nondestructive tests, and stress tests. Testing ensures that products will perform as expected. Engineers as professionals take seriously their responsibility to produce designs that will perform as expected and will not cause unintended harm to the public at large. Engineers typically include a factor of safety in their designs to reduce the risk of unexpected failure. However, the greater the safety factor, the less efficient the design may be. The study of failed products is known as forensic engineering, and can help the product designer in evaluating his or her design in the light of real conditions. The discipline is of greatest value after disasters, such as bridge collapses, when careful analysis is needed to establish the cause or causes of the failure.

As with all modern scientific and technological endeavors, computers and software play an increasingly important role. As well as the typical business application software there are a number of computer aided applications (CAx) specifically for engineering. Computers can be used to generate models of fundamental physical processes, which can be solved using numerical methods.

One of the most widely used tools in the profession is computer-aided design (CAD) software which enables engineers to create 3D models, 2D drawings, and schematics of their designs. CAD together with Digital mockup (DMU) and CAE software such as finite element method analysis or analytic element method allows engineers to create models of designs that can be analyzed without having to make expensive and time-consuming physical prototypes. These allow products and components to be checked for flaws; assess fit and assembly; study ergonomics; and to analyze static and dynamic characteristics of systems such as stresses, temperatures, electromagnetic emissions, electrical currents and voltages, digital logic levels, fluid flows, and kinematics. Access and distribution of all this information is generally organized with the use of Product Data Management software.

There are also many tools to support specific engineering tasks such as Computer-aided manufacture (CAM) software to generate CNC machining instructions; Manufacturing Process Management software for production engineering; EDA for printed circuit board (PCB) and circuit schematics for electronic engineers; MRO applications for maintenance management; and AEC software for civil engineering.

In recent years the use of computer software to aid the development of goods has collectively come to be known as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

Engineering is a subject that ranges from large collaborations to small individual projects. Almost all engineering projects are beholden to some sort of financing agency: a company, a set of investors, or a government. The few types of engineering that are minimally constrained by such issues are pro bono engineering and open design engineering.

By its very nature engineering is bound up with society and human behavior. Every product or construction used by modern society will have been influenced by engineering design. Engineering design is a very powerful tool to make changes to environment, society and economies, and its application brings with it a great responsibility, as represented by many of the Engineering Institutions codes of practice and ethics. Whereas medical ethics is a well-established field with considerable consensus, engineering ethics is far less developed, and engineering projects can be subject to considerable controversy. Just a few examples of this from different engineering disciplines are the development of nuclear weapons, the Three Gorges Dam, the design and use of Sports Utility Vehicles and the extraction of oil. There is a growing trend amongst western engineering companies to enact serious Corporate and Social Responsibility policies, but many companies do not have these.

Engineering is a well respected profession. For example, in Canada it ranks as one of the public's most trusted professions.

Sometimes engineering has been seen as a somewhat dry, uninteresting field in popular culture, and has also been thought to be the domain of nerds. For example, the cartoon character Dilbert is an engineer. One difficulty in increasing public awareness of the profession is that average people, in the typical run of ordinary life, do not ever have any personal dealings with engineers, even though they benefit from their work every day. By contrast, it is common to visit a doctor at least once a year, the chartered accountant at tax time, and, occasionally, even a lawyer.

This has not always been so - most British school children in the 1950s were brought up with stirring tales of 'the Victorian Engineers', chief amongst whom were the Brunels, the Stephensons, Telford and their contemporaries.

In science fiction engineers are often portrayed as highly knowledgeable and respectable individuals who understand the overwhelming future technologies often portrayed in the genre. The Star Trek characters Montgomery Scott, Geordi La Forge, Miles O'Brien, B'Elanna Torres, and Charles Tucker are famous examples.

Occasionally, engineers may be recognized by the "Iron Ring"--a stainless steel or iron ring worn on the little finger of the dominant hand. This tradition began in 1925 in Canada for the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer as a symbol of pride and obligation for the engineering profession. Some years later in 1972 this practice was adopted by several colleges in the United States. Members of the US Order of the Engineer accept this ring as a pledge to uphold the proud history of engineering.

A Professional Engineer's name may be followed by the post-nominal letters PE or P.Eng in North America. In much of Europe a professional engineer is denoted by the letters IR, while in the UK and much of the Commonwealth the term Chartered Engineer applies and is denoted by the letters CEng.

In most Western countries, certain engineering tasks, such as the design of bridges, electric power plants, and chemical plants, must be approved by a Professional Engineer or a Chartered Engineer or an Incorporated Engineer.

Laws protecting public health and safety mandate that a professional must provide guidance gained through education and experience. In the United States, each state tests and licenses Professional Engineers. In much of Europe and the Commonwealth professional accreditation is provided by Engineering Institutions, such as the Institution of Civil Engineers from the UK. The engineering institutions of the UK are some of the oldest in the world, and provide accreditation to many engineers around the world. In Canada the profession in each province is governed by its own engineering association. For instance, in the Province of British Columbia an engineering graduate with 4 or more years of experience in an engineering-related field will need to be registered by the Association for Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (APEGBC) in order to become a Professional Engineer and be granted the professional designation of P.Eng.

The federal US government, however, supervises aviation through the Federal Aviation Regulations administrated by the Dept. of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration. Designated Engineering Representatives approve data for aircraft design and repairs on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Even with strict testing and licensure, engineering disasters still occur. Therefore, the Professional Engineer, Chartered Engineer, or Incorporated Engineer adheres to a strict code of ethics. Each engineering discipline and professional society maintains a code of ethics, which the members pledge to uphold.

Refer also to the Washington accord for international accreditation details of professional engineering degrees.

Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that has never been.

There exists an overlap between the sciences and engineering practice; in engineering, one applies science. Both areas of endeavor rely on accurate observation of materials and phenomena. Both use mathematics and classification criteria to analyze and communicate observations. Scientists are expected to interpret their observations and to make expert recommendations for practical action based on those interpretations. Scientists may also have to complete engineering tasks, such as designing experimental apparatus or building prototypes. Conversely, in the process of developing technology engineers sometimes find themselves exploring new phenomena, thus becoming, for the moment, scientists.

In the book What Engineers Know and How They Know It, Walter Vincenti asserts that engineering research has a character different from that of scientific research. First, it often deals with areas in which the basic physics and/or chemistry are well understood, but the problems themselves are too complex to solve in an exact manner. Examples are the use of numerical approximations to the Navier-Stokes equations to describe aerodynamic flow over an aircraft, or the use of Miner's rule to calculate fatigue damage. Second, engineering research employs many semi-empirical methods that are foreign to pure scientific research, one example being the method of parameter variation.

Scientists and engineers make up less than 5% of the population but create up to 50% of the GDP.

The study of the human body, albeit from different directions and for different purposes, is an important common link between medicine and some engineering disciplines. Medicine aims to sustain, enhance and even replace functions of the human body, if necessary, through the use of technology. Modern medicine can replace several of the body's functions through the use of artificial organs and can significantly alter the function of the human body through artificial devices such as, for example, brain implants and pacemakers. The fields of Bionics and medical Bionics are dedicated to the study of synthetic implants pertaining to natural systems. Conversely, some engineering disciplines view the human body as a biological machine worth studying, and are dedicated to emulating many of its functions by replacing biology with technology. This has led to fields such as artificial intelligence, neural networks, fuzzy logic, and robotics. There are also substantial interdisciplinary interactions between engineering and medicine.

Both fields provide solutions to real world problems. This often requires moving forward before phenomena are completely understood in a more rigorous scientific sense and therefore experimentation and empirical knowledge is an integral part of both. Medicine, in part, studies the function of the human body. The human body, as a biological machine, has many functions that can be modeled using Engineering methods. The heart for example functions much like a pump, the skeleton is like a linked structure with levers, the brain produces electrical signals etc. These similarities as well as the increasing importance and application of Engineering principles in Medicine, led to the development of the field of biomedical engineering that utilizes concepts developed in both disciplines.

Newly emerging branches of science, such as Systems biology, are adapting analytical tools traditionally used for engineering, such as systems modeling and computational analysis, to the description of biological systems.

There are connections between engineering and art; they are direct in some fields, for example, architecture, landscape architecture and industrial design (even to the extent that these disciplines may sometimes be included in a University's Faculty of Engineering); and indirect in others. The Art Institute of Chicago, for instance, held an exhibition about the art of NASA's aerospace design. Robert Maillart's bridge design is perceived by some to have been deliberately artistic. At the University of South Florida, an engineering professor, through a grant with the National Science Foundation, has developed a course that connects art and engineering. Among famous historical figures Leonardo Da Vinci is a well known Renaissance artist and engineer, and a prime example of the nexus between art and engineering.

In Political science the term engineering has been borrowed for the study of the subjects of Social engineering and Political engineering, which deal with forming political and social structures using engineering methodology coupled with political science principles.

To the top

Structural engineering

Deflection of a cantilever under a point load (f) in engineering

Structural engineering is a field of engineering dealing with the analysis and design of structures that support or resist loads. Structural engineering is usually considered a specialty within civil engineering, but it can also be studied in its own right.

Structural engineers are most commonly involved in the design of buildings and large nonbuilding structures but they can also be involved in the design of machinery, medical equipment, vehicles or any item where structural integrity affects the item's function or safety. Structural engineers must ensure their designs satisfy given design criteria, predicated on safety (e.g. structures must not collapse without due warning) or serviceability and performance (e.g. building sway must not cause discomfort to the occupants).

Structural engineering theory is based upon physical laws and empirical knowledge of the structural performance of different geometries and materials. Structural engineering design utilises a relatively small number of basic structural elements to build up structural systems than can be very complex. Structural engineers are responsible for making creative and efficient use of funds, structural elements and materials to achieve these goals.

The term structural derives from the Latin word structus, which is "to pile, build, assemble". The first use of the term structure was c.1440. The term engineer derives from the old French term engin, meaning "skill, cleverness" and also 'war machine'. This term in turn derives from the Latin word ingenium, which means "inborn qualities, talent", and is constructed of in- "in" + gen-, the root of gignere, meaning "to beget, produce." The term engineer is related to ingenious.

The term structural engineer is generally applied to those who have completed a degree in civil engineering specializing in the design of structures, or a post-graduate degree in structural engineering. However, an individual can become a structural engineer through training and experience outside educational institutions as well, perhaps most notably under the Institution of Structural Engineers (UK) regulations. The training and experience requirements for structural engineers varies greatly, being governed in some way in most developed nations. In all cases the term is regulated to restrict usage to only those individuals having specialist knowledge of the requirements and design of safe, serviceable, and economical structures.

The term engineer in isolation varies widely in its use and application, and can, depending on the geographical location of its use, refer to many different technical and creative professions in its common usage.

Structural engineers are responsible for engineering design and analysis. Entry-level structural engineers may design the individual structural elements of a structure, for example the beams, columns, and floors of a building. More experienced engineers would be responsible for the structural design and integrity of an entire system, such as a building.

Structural engineers often specialise in particular fields, such as bridge engineering, building engineering, pipeline engineering, industrial structures or special structures such as vehicles or aircraft.

Structural engineering has existed since humans first started to construct their own structures. It became a more defined and formalised profession with the emergence of the architecture profession as distinct from the engineering profession during the industrial revolution in the late 19th Century. Until then, the architect and the structural engineer were often one and the same - the master builder. Only with the understanding of structural theories that emerged during the 19th and 20th century did the professional structural engineer come into existence.

The role of a structural engineer today involves a significant understanding of both static and dynamic loading, and the structures that are available to resist them. The complexity of modern structures often requires a great deal of creativity from the engineer in order to ensure the structures support and resist the loads they are subjected to. A structural engineer will typically have a four or five year undergraduate degree, followed by a minimum of three years of professional practice before being considered fully qualified.

Structural engineers are licensed or accredited by different learned societies and regulatory bodies around the world (for example, the Institution of Structural Engineers in the UK). Depending on the degree course they have studied and/or the jurisdiction they are seeking licensure in, they may be accredited (or licensed) as just structural engineers, or as civil engineers, or as both civil and structural engineers.

Structural engineering dates back to at least 2700 BC when the step pyramid for Pharaoh Djoser was built by Imhotep, the first engineer in history known by name. Pyramids were the most common major structures built by ancient civilisations because the structural form of a pyramid is inherently stable and can be almost infinitely scaled (as opposed to most other structural forms, which cannot be linearly increased in size in proportion to increased loads).

Throughout ancient and medieval history most architectural design and construction was carried out by artisans, such as stone masons and carpenters, rising to the role of master builder. No theory of structures existed, and understanding of how structures stood up was extremely limited, and based almost entirely on empirical evidence of 'what had worked before'. Knowledge was retained by guilds and seldom supplanted by advances. Structures were repetitive, and increases in scale were incremental.

No record exists of the first calculations of the strength of structural members or the behaviour of structural material, but the profession of structural engineer only really took shape with the industrial revolution and the re-invention of concrete (see History of concrete). The physical sciences underlying structural engineering began to be understood in the Renaissance and have been developing ever since.

The history of structural engineering contains many collapses and failures. Sometimes this is due to obvious negligence, as in the case of the Pétionville school collapse, in which Rev. Fortin Augustin said that "he constructed the building all by himself, saying he didn't need an engineer as he had good knowledge of construction" following a partial collapse of the three-story schoolhouse that sent neighbors fleeing. The final collapse killed at least 94 people, mostly children.

On 24 May, 1847 the Dee Bridge collapsed as a train passed over it, with the loss of 5 lives. It was designed by Robert Stephenson, using cast iron girders reinforced with wrought iron struts. The bridge collapse was the subject of one of the first formal inquiries into a structural failure. The result of the inquiry was that the design of the structure was fundamentally flawed, as the wrought iron did not reinforce the cast iron at all, and due to repeated flexing it suffered a brittle failure due to fatigue.

The Dee bridge disaster was followed by a number of cast iron bridge collapses, including the collapse of the first Tay Rail Bridge on 28 December 1879. Like the Dee bridge, the Tay collapsed when a train passed over it causing 75 people to lose their lives. The bridge failed because of poorly made cast iron, and the failure of the designer Thomas Bouch to consider wind loading on the bridge. The collapse resulted in cast iron largely being replaced by steel construction, and a complete redesign in 1890 of the Forth Railway Bridge. As a result, the Forth Bridge was the first entirely steel bridge in the world.

The 1940 collapse of Tacoma Narrows Bridge, as the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge is known, is sometimes characterized in physics textbooks as a classical example of resonance; although, this description is misleading. The catastrophic vibrations that destroyed the bridge were not due to simple mechanical resonance, but to a more complicated oscillation between the bridge and winds passing through it, known as aeroelastic flutter. Robert H. Scanlan, father of the field of bridge aerodynamics, wrote an article about this misunderstanding. This collapse, and the research that followed, led to an increased understanding of wind/structure interactions. Several bridges were altered following the collapse to prevent a similar event occurring again. The only fatality was 'Tubby' the dog.

In 1954, two de Havilland Comet C1 jet airliners, the world's first commercial airliner, crashed, killing all passengers. After lengthy investigations and the grounding of all Comet airliners, it was concluded that metal fatigue at the corners of the windows had resulted in the crashes. The square corners had led to stress concentrations which after continual stress cycles from pressurisation and de-pressurisation, failed catastropically in flight. The research into the failures led to significant improvements in understanding of fatigue loading of airframes, and the redesign of the Comet and all subsequent airliners to incorporate rounded corners to doors and windows.

On 16 May, 1968 the 22 storey residential tower Ronan Point in the London borough of Newham collapsed when a relatively small gas explosion on the 18th floor caused a structural wall panel to be blown away from the building. The tower was constructed of precast concrete, and the failure of the single panel caused one entire corner of the building to collapse. The panel was able to be blown out because there was insufficient reinforcement steel passing between the panels. This also meant that the loads carried by the panel could not be redistributed to other adjacent panels, because there was no route for the forces to follow. As a result of the collapse, building regulations were overhauled to prevent "disproportionate collapse", and the understanding of precast concrete detailing was greatly advanced. Many similar buildings were altered or demolished as a result of the collapse.

On 17 July, 1981, two suspended walkways through the lobby of the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, Missouri, collapsed, killing 114 people at a tea dance. The collapse was due to a late change in design, altering the method in which the rods supporting the walkways were connected to them, and inadvertently doubling the forces on the connection. The failure highlighted the need for good communication between design engineers and contractors, and rigorous checks on designs and especially on contractor proposed design changes. The failure is a standard case study on engineering courses around the world, and is used to teach the importance of ethics in engineering.

On 19 April, 1995, the nine storey concrete framed Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma was struck by a huge car bomb causing partial collapse, resulting in the deaths of 168 people. The bomb, though large, caused a significantly disproportionate collapse of the structure. The bomb blew all the glass off the front of the building and completely shattered a ground floor reinforced concrete column (see brisance). At second storey level a wider column spacing existed, and loads from upper storey columns were transferred into fewer columns below by girders at second floor level. The removal of one of the lower storey columns caused neighbouring columns to fail due to the extra load, eventually leading to the complete collapse of the central portion of the building. The bombing was one of the first to highlight the extreme forces that blast loading from terrorism can exert on buildings, and led to increased consideration of terrorism in structural design of buildings.

In the September 11 attacks, two commercial airliners were deliberately crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact and resulting fires caused both towers to collapse within two hours. After the impacts had severed exterior columns and damaged core columns, the loads on these columns were redistributed. The hat trusses at the top of each building played a significant role in this redistribution of the loads in the structure. The impacts dislodged some of the fireproofing from the steel, increasing its exposure to the heat of the fires. Temperatures became high enough to weaken the core columns to the point of creep and plastic deformation under the weight of higher floors. Perimeter columns and floors were also weakened by the heat of the fires, causing the floors to sag and exerting an inward force on exterior walls of the building.

The I-35W Mississippi River bridge (officially known simply as Bridge 9340) was an eight-lane steel truss arch bridge that carried Interstate 35W across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The bridge was completed in 1967, and its maintenance was performed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The bridge was Minnesota's fifth–busiest, carrying 140,000 vehicles daily. The bridge catastrophically failed during the evening rush hour on August 1, 2007, collapsing to the river and riverbanks beneath. Thirteen people were killed and 145 were injured. Following the collapse The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)advised states to inspect the 700 U.S. bridges of similar construction after a possible design flaw in the bridge was discovered, related to large steel sheets called gusset plates which were used to connect girders together in the truss structure. Officials expressed concern about many other bridges in the United States sharing the same design and raised questions as to why such a flaw would not have been discovered in over 40 years of inspections.

Structural building engineering includes all structural engineering related to the design of buildings. It is the branch of structural engineering that is close to architecture.

Structural building engineering is primarily driven by the creative manipulation of materials and forms and the underlying mathematical and scientific principles to achieve an end which fulfills its functional requirements and is structurally safe when subjected to all the loads it could reasonably be expected to experience, while being economical and practical to construct. This is subtly different to architectural design, which is driven by the creative manipulation of materials and forms, mass, space, volume, texture and light to achieve an end which is aesthetic, functional and often artistic.

The architect is usually the lead designer on buildings, with a structural engineer employed as a sub-consultant. The degree to which each discipline actually leads the design depends heavily on the type of structure. Many structures are structurally simple and led by architecture, such as multi-storey office buildings and housing, while other structures, such as tensile structures, shells and gridshells are heavily dependent on their form for their strength, and the engineer may have a more significant influence on the form, and hence much of the aesthetic, than the architect. Between these two extremes, structures such as stadia, museums and skyscrapers are complex both architecturally and structurally, and a successful design is a collaboration of equals.

The structural design for a building must ensure that the building is able to stand up safely, able to function without excessive deflections or movements which may cause fatigue of structural elements, cracking or failure of fixtures, fittings or partitions, or discomfort for occupants. It must account for movements and forces due to temperature, creep, cracking and imposed loads. It must also ensure that the design is practically buildable within acceptable manufacturing tolerances of the materials. It must allow the architecture to work, and the building services to fit within the building and function (air conditioning, ventilation, smoke extract, electrics, lighting etc). The structural design of a modern building can be extremely complex, and often requires a large team to complete.

Earthquake engineering structures are those engineered to withstand various types of hazardous earthquake exposures at the sites of their particular location.

Earthquake engineering is treating its subject structures like defensive fortifications in military engineering but for the warfare on earthquakes. Both earthquake and military general design principles are similar: be ready to slow down or mitigate the advance of a possible attacker.

Earthquake engineering or earthquake-proof structure does not, necessarily, means extremely strong and expensive one like El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza shown above.

Now, the most powerful and budgetary tool of the earthquake engineering is base isolation which pertains to the passive structural vibration control technologies.

The structural engineer is the lead designer on these structures, and often the sole designer. In the design of structures such as these, structural safety is of paramount importance (in the UK, designs for dams, nuclear power stations and bridges must be signed off by a chartered engineer).

Civil engineering structures are often subjected to very extreme forces, such as large variations in temperature, dynamic loads such as waves or traffic, or high pressures from water or compressed gases. They are also often constructed in corrosive environments, such as at sea, in industrial facilities or below ground.

The design of static structures assumes they always have the same geometry (in fact, so-called static structures can move significantly, and structural engineering design must take this into account where necessary), but the design of moveable or moving structures must account for fatigue, variation in the method in which load is resisted and significant deflections of structures.

The forces which parts of a machine are subjected to can vary significantly, and can do so at a great rate. The forces which a boat or aircraft are subjected to vary enormously and will do so thousands of times over the structure's lifetime. The structural design must ensure that such structures are able to endure such loading for their entire design life without failing.

Columns are elements that carry only axial force - either tension or compression - or both axial force and bending (which is technically called a beam-column but practically, just a column). The design of a column must check the axial capacity of the element, and the buckling capacity.

The buckling capacity is the capacity of the element to withstand the propensity to buckle. Its capacity depends upon its geometry, material, and the effective length of the column, which depends upon the restraint conditions at the top and bottom of the column. The effective length is K * l where l is the real length of the column.

The capacity of a column to carry axial load depends on the degree of bending it is subjected to, and vice versa. This is represented on an interaction chart and is a complex non-linear relationship.

Beams are elements which carry pure bending only. Bending causes one section of a beam (divided along its length) to go into compression and the other section into tension. The compression section must be designed to resist buckling and crushing, while the tension section must be able to adequately resist the tension.

Trusses are usually utilised to span large distances, where it would be uneconomical and unattractive to use solid beams.

Plates carry bending in two directions. A concrete flat slab is an example of a plate. Plates are understood by using continuum mechanics, but due to the complexity involved they are most often designed using a codified empirical approach, or computer analysis.

They can also be designed with yield line theory, where an assumed collapse mechanism is analysed to give an upper bound on the collapse load (see Plasticity). This is rarely used in practice.

Shells derive their strength from their form, and carry forces in compression in two directions. A dome is an example of a shell. They can be designed by making a hanging-chain model, which will act as a catenary in pure tension, and inverting the form to achieve pure compression.

Arches carry forces in compression in one direction only, which is why it is appropriate to build arches out of masonry. They are designed by ensuring that the line of thrust of the force remains within the depth of the arch.

Catenaries derive their strength from their form, and carry transverse forces in pure tension by deflecting (just as a tightrope will sag when someone walks on it). They are almost always cable or fabric structures. A fabric structure acts as a catenary in two directions.

Structural engineering depends upon a detailed knowledge of loads, physics and materials to understand and predict how structures support and resist self-weight and imposed loads. To apply the knowledge successfully a structural engineer will need a detailed knowledge of mathematics and of relevant empirical and theoretical design codes. He will also need to know about the corrosion resistance of the materials and structures, especially when those structures are exposed to the external environment.

The criteria which govern the design of a structure are either serviceability (criteria which define whether the structure is able to adequately fulfill its function) or strength (criteria which define whether a structure is able to safely support and resist its design loads). A structural engineer designs a structure to have sufficient strength and stiffness to meet these criteria.

Some Structural loads on structures can be classified as live (imposed) loads, dead loads, earthquake (seismic) loads, wind loads, soil pressure loads, fluid pressure loads, impact loads, and vibratory loads. Live loads are transitory or temporary loads, and are relatively unpredictable in magnitude. They may include the weight of a building's occupants and furniture, and temporary loads the structure is subjected to during construction. Dead loads are permanent, and may include the weight of the structure itself and all major permanent components. Dead load may also include the weight of the structure itself supported in a way it wouldn't normally be supported, for example during construction.

Strength depends upon material properties. The strength of a material depends on its capacity to withstand axial stress, shear stress, bending, and torsion. The strength of a material is measured in force per unit area (newtons per square millimetre or N/mm², or the equivalent megapascals or MPa in the SI system and often pounds per square inch psi in the United States Customary Units system).

A structure fails the strength criterion when the stress (force divided by area of material) induced by the loading is greater than the capacity of the structural material to resist the load without breaking, or when the strain (percentage extension) is so great that the element no longer fulfills its function (yield).

Stiffness depends upon material properties and geometry. The stiffness of a structural element of a given material is the product of the material's Young's modulus and the element's second moment of area. Stiffness is measured in force per unit length (newtons per millimetre or N/mm), and is equivalent to the 'force constant' in Hooke's Law.

The deflection of a structure under loading is dependent on its stiffness. The dynamic response of a structure to dynamic loads (the natural frequency of a structure) is also dependent on its stiffness.

In a structure made up of multiple structural elements where the surface distributing the forces to the elements is rigid, the elements will carry loads in proportion to their relative stiffness - the stiffer an element, the more load it will attract. In a structure where the surface distributing the forces to the elements is flexible (like a wood framed structure), the elements will carry loads in proportion to their relative tributary areas.

A structure is considered to fail the chosen serviceability criteria if it is insufficiently stiff to have acceptably small deflection or dynamic response under loading.

The inverse of stiffness is the flexibility.

The safe design of structures requires a design approach which takes account of the statistical likelihood of the failure of the structure. Structural design codes are based upon the assumption that both the loads and the material strengths vary with a normal distribution.

The job of the structural engineer is to ensure that the chance of overlap between the distribution of loads on a structure and the distribution of material strength of a structure is acceptably small (it is impossible to reduce that chance to zero).

It is normal to apply a partial safety factor to the loads and to the material strengths, to design using 95th percentiles (two standard deviations from the mean). The safety factor applied to the load will typically ensure that in 95% of times the actual load will be smaller than the design load, while the factor applied to the strength ensures that 95% of times the actual strength will be higher than the design strength.

The safety factors for material strength vary depending on the material and the use it is being put to and on the design codes applicable in the country or region.

A load case is a combination of different types of loads with safety factors applied to them. A structure is checked for strength and serviceability against all the load cases it is likely to experience during its lifetime.

Different load cases would be used for different loading conditions. For example, in the case of design for fire a load case of 1.0 x Dead Load + 0.8 x Live Load may be used, as it is reasonable to assume everyone has left the building if there is a fire.

In multi-story buildings it is normal to reduce the total live load depending on the number of stories being supported, as the probability of maximum load being applied to all floors simultaneously is negligibly small.

It is not uncommon for large buildings to require hundreds of different load cases to be considered in the design.

Newton's first law states that every body perseveres in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed.

Newton's second law states that the rate of change of momentum of a body is proportional to the resultant force acting on the body and is in the same direction. Mathematically, F=ma (force = mass x acceleration).

Newton's third law states that all forces occur in pairs, and these two forces are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

A structural engineer must understand the internal and external forces of a structural system consisting of structural elements and nodes at their intersections.

A statically determinate structure can be fully analysed using only consideration of equilibrium, from Newton's Laws of Motion.

A statically indeterminate structure has more unknowns than equilibrium considerations can supply equations for (see simultaneous equations). Such a system can be solved using consideration of equations of compatibility between geometry and deflections in addition to equilibrium equations, or by using virtual work.

It should be noted that even if this relationship does hold, a structure can be arranged in such a way as to be statically indeterminate.

Much engineering design is based on the assumption that materials behave elastically. For most materials this assumption is incorrect, but empirical evidence has shown that design using this assumption can be safe. Materials that are elastic obey Hooke's Law, and plasticity does not occur.

Some design is based on the assumption that materials will behave plastically. A plastic material is one which does not obey Hooke's Law, and therefore deformation is not proportional to the applied load. Plastic materials are ductile materials. Plasticity theory can be used for some reinforced concrete structures assuming they are underreinforced, meaning that the steel reinforcement fails before the concrete does.

If the correct collapse load is found, the two methods will give the same result for the collapse load.

Here u is the deflection and w(x) is a load per unit length. E is the elastic modulus and I is the second moment of area, the product of these giving the stiffness of the beam.

This equation is very common in engineering practice: it describes the deflection of a uniform, static beam.

When subjected to compressive forces it is possible for structural elements to deform significantly due to the destabilising effect of that load. The effect can be initiated or exacerbated by possible inaccuracies in manufacture or construction.

The Euler buckling formula defines the axial compression force which will cause a strut (or column) to fail in buckling.

This value is sometimes expressed for design purposes as a critical buckling stress.

Other forms of buckling include lateral torsional buckling, where the compression flange of a beam in bending will buckle, and buckling of plate elements in plate girders due to compression in the plane of the plate.

Structural engineering depends on the knowledge of materials and their properties, in order to understand how different materials support and resist loads.

Wrought iron is the simplest form of iron, and is almost pure iron (typically less than 0.15% carbon). It usually contains some slag. Its uses are almost entirely obsolete, and it is no longer commercially produced.

Wrought iron is very poor in fires. It is ductile, malleable and tough. It does not corrode as easily as steel.

Cast iron is a brittle form of iron which is weaker in tension than in compression. It has a relatively low melting point, good fluidity, castability, excellent machinability and wear resistance. Though almost entirely replaced by steel in building structures, cast irons have become an engineering material with a wide range of applications, including pipes, machine and car parts.

Cast iron retains high strength in fires, despite its low melting point. It is usually around 95% iron, with between 2.1-4% carbon and between 1-3% silicon. It does not corrode as easily as steel.

Steel is a iron alloy with between 0.2 and 1.7% carbon.

Steel is used extremely widely in all types of structures, due to its relatively low cost, high strength to weight ratio and speed of construction.

Steel is a ductile material, which will behave elastically until it reaches yield (point 2 on the stress-strain curve), when it becomes plastic and will fail in a ductile manner (large strains, or extensions, before fracture at point 3 on the curve). Steel is equally strong in tension and compression.

Steel is weak in fires, and must be protected in most buildings. Because of its high strength to weight ratio, steel buildings typically have low thermal mass, and require more energy to heat (or cool) than similar concrete buildings.

Steel is very prone to corrosion (rust).

Stainless steel is an iron-carbon alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content. There are different types of stainless steel, containing different proportions of iron, carbon, molybdenum, nickel. It has similar structural properties to steel, although its strength varies significantly.

It is rarely used for primary structure, and more for architectural finishes and building cladding.

It is highly resistant to corrosion and staining.

Concrete is used extremely widely in building and civil engineering structures, due to its low cost, flexibility, durability, and high strength. It also has high resistance to fire.

Concrete is a brittle material and it is strong in compression and very weak in tension. It behaves non-linearly at all times. Because it has essentially zero strength in tension, it is almost always used as reinforced concrete, a composite material. It is a mixture of sand, aggregate, cement and water. It is placed in a mould, or form, as a liquid, and then it sets (goes off), due to a chemical reaction between the water and cement. The hardening of the concrete is called curing. The reaction is exothermic (gives off heat).

Concrete increases in strength continually from the day it is cast. Assuming it is not cast under water or in constantly 100% relative humididy, it shrinks over time as it dries out, and it deforms over time due to a phenomenon called creep. Its strength depends highly on how it is mixed, poured, cast, compacted, cured (kept wet while setting), and whether or not any admixtures were used in the mix. It can be cast into any shape that a form can be made for. Its colour, quality, and finish depend upon the complexity of the structure, the material used for the form, and the skill of the worker.

Concrete is a non-linear, non-elastic material, and will fail suddenly, with a brittle failure, unless adequate reinforced with steel. An "under-reinforced" concrete element will fail with a ductile manner, as the steel will fail before the concrete. An "over-reinforced" element will fail suddenly, as the concrete will fail first. Reinforced concrete elements should be designed to be under-reinforced so users of the structure will receive warning of impending collapse. This is a technical term. Reinforced concrete can be designed without enough reinforcing. A better term would be properly reinforced where the member can resist all the design loads adequately and it is not over-reinforced.

The elastic modulus of concrete can vary widely and depends on the concrete mix, age, and quality, as well as on the type and duration of loading applied to it. It is usually taken as approximately 25 GPa for long-term loads once it has attained its full strength (usually considered to be at 28 days after casting). It is taken as approximately 38 GPa for very short-term loading, such as footfalls.

Concrete has very favourable properties in fire - it is not adversely affected by fire until it reaches very high temperatures. It also has very high mass, so it is good for providing sound insulation and heat retention (leading to lower energy requirements for the heating of concrete buildings). This is offset by the fact that producing and transporting concrete is very energy intensive.

Aluminium is a soft, lightweight, malleable metal. The yield strength of pure aluminium is 7–11 MPa, while aluminium alloys have yield strengths ranging from 200 MPa to 600 MPa. Aluminium has about one-third the density and stiffness of steel. It is ductile, and easily machined, cast, and extruded.

Corrosion resistance is excellent due to a thin surface layer of aluminium oxide that forms when the metal is exposed to air, effectively preventing further oxidation. The strongest aluminium alloys are less corrosion resistant due to galvanic reactions with alloyed copper.

Aluminium is used in some building structures (mainly in facades) and very widely in aircraft engineering because of its good strength to weight ratio. It is a relatively expensive material.

In aircraft it is gradually being replaced by carbon composite materials.

Composite materials are used increasingly in vehicles and aircraft structures, and to some extent in other structures. They are increasingly used in bridges, especially for conservation of old structures such as Coalport cast iron bridge built in 1818. Composites are often anisotropic (they have different material properties in different directions) as they can be laminar materials. They most often behave non-linearly and will fail in a brittle manner when overloaded.

They provide extremely good strength to weight ratios, but are also very expensive. The manufacturing processes, which are often extrusion, do not currently provide the economical flexibility that concrete or steel provide. The most commonly used in structural applications are glass-reinforced plastics.

Masonry has been used in structures for hundreds of years, and can take the form of stone, brick or blockwork. Masonry is very strong in compression but cannot carry tension (because the mortar between bricks or blocks is unable to carry tension). Because it cannot carry structural tension, it also cannot carry bending, so masonry walls become unstable at relatively small heights. High masonry structures require stabilisation against lateral loads from buttresses (as with the flying buttresses seen in many European medieval churches) or from windposts.

Historically masonry was constructed with no mortar or with lime mortar. In modern times cement based mortars are used. The mortar glues the blocks together, and also smoothes out the interface between the blocks, avoiding localised point loads that might have led to cracking.

Since the widespread use of concrete, stone is rarely used as a primary structural material, often only appearing as a cladding, because of its cost and the high skills needed to produce it. Brick and concrete blockwork have taken its place.

Masonry, like concrete, has good sound insulation properties and high thermal mass, but is generally less energy intensive to produce. It is just as energy intensive as concrete to transport.

Timber is the oldest of structural materials, and though mainly supplanted by steel, masonry and concrete, it is still used in a significant number of buildings. The properties of timber are non-linear and very variable, depending on the quality, treatment of wood, and type of wood supplied. The design of wooden structures is based strongly on empirical evidence.

Wood is strong in tension and compression, but can be weak in bending due to its fibrous structure. Wood is relatively good in fire as it chars, which provides the wood in the centre of the element with some protection and allows the structure to retain some strength for a reasonable length of time.

To the top

Computer engineering

Computer Engineering (also called Electronic and Computer Engineering or Computer Systems Engineering) is a discipline that combines elements of both Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Computer engineers are electrical engineers that have additional training in the areas of software design and hardware-software integration. In turn, they focus less on power electronics and physics. Computer engineers are involved in many aspects of computing, from the design of individual microprocessors, personal computers, and supercomputers, to circuit design. This engineering monitors the many subsystems in motor vehicles.

Usual tasks involving computer engineers include writing software and firmware for embedded microcontrollers, designing VLSI chips, designing analog sensors, designing mixed signal circuit boards, and designing operating systems. Computer engineers are also suited for robotics research, which relies heavily on using digital systems to control and monitor electrical systems like motors, communications, and sensors.

The first accredited computer engineering degree program in the United States was established at Case Western Reserve University in 1971; as of October 2004 there were 170 ABET-accredited computer engineering programs in the US.

Due to increasing job requirements for engineers, who can design and manage all forms of computer systems used in industry, some tertiary institutions around the world offer a bachelor's degree generally called "computer engineering". Both computer engineering and electronic engineering programs include analog and digital circuit design in their curricula. As with most engineering disciplines, having a sound knowledge of mathematics and sciences is necessary for computer engineers.

The breadth of disciplines studied in computer engineering is not limited to the above subjects but can include any subject found in engineering.

To the top

Source : Wikipedia