Civil and Structural Engineering
The department of civil and structural engineering is in charge of concrete and steel structural design for different buildings: industrial warehouses, operating platforms, stairs, bridges and pipe racks cranes, office building, concrete and steel silos, Design of roadways, tunnels, earthworks, pavements, foundations and retaining walls, hydrosanitary and rainwater drainage, trench and cistern design. In addition, it specifies and proposes special materials in its designs.
Within civil engineering, it is possible to distinguish between structural engineering (which calculates the maximum resistance of elements subjected to different loads), geotechnical engineering (estimates the resistance between the particles of the ground to understand the interaction of the soil With the structure), hydraulic engineering, transport engineering and road infrastructure and construction management and engineering.
It should be noted that the work of civil engineers allows the construction of buildings, roads, highways, bridges, ports, airports, tunnels, navigation channels, quays and dams, among others.
Structural engineering is a specialty of civil engineering that allows the planning and design of parts that form the resistant skeleton of more traditional buildings such as urban buildings, industrial buildings, bridges, hydraulic development structures and others.
The structural skeleton forms an integrated system of parts, called structural elements:
- Foundations and others.
It is often necessary to face highly complex problems that are cracked by finite element techniques that solves the differential and integral equations of several thousand variables, using linear algebra, differential equations and numerical methods.
The professional activity of the structural engineer starts with a sketch of the future building, in which the general dimensions are defined in both the floor plan and the elevation. Compare alternatives for basic building materials: the convenience of using reinforced or pre-stressed concrete, steel, wood, confined or reinforced masonry, aluminum or other more recent possibilities. It also defines the longitudinal and transverse dimensions of the structural elements.
Defined the preliminary geometric characteristics is passed to the process of pre-dimensioning of the structural elements:
- Dimensions of beams and columns
- Characteristics of the foundation
- Stairs definition
- Retaining walls
Then the loads that will support the building are evaluated:
- Dead loads that are loads that do not vary within the structure or over time
- Living loads that vary in space or time.
The engineer in charge must analyze the reaction forces
and deformations of the skeleton resistant due to the loads.
For this, the engineers have computer programs that aids in the solution of current problems. Some of the programs used have graphical interface capabilities that generate drawings of the internal stresses and deformations for different load models.
Then we proceed to the refinement of the design: it arrives at a model that results in a reasonable way as the more economic and functional option; to say reasonable we mean to take into account the constructive ease of what is analyzed and designed.
The drafting phase of the drawings must be carried out by highly experienced engineers, so that the plans contain what is to be built. The construction plans must be clear, indicating the materials to be used, details of reinforcement, with the precise indications of the dimensions and the planned stages.
In addition, they must be prepared to advise the builder that he shall not take measures at scale or make assumptions upon the drawings.