The science of structural engineering is constantly evolving. Structural engineers continually look to develop new architectural designs to please clients. As new building materials emerge, structural engineers are pushed to integrate these materials into new construction. They must study the way these materials react under the stress of load and predict how to support key areas strategically to maintain the structural integrity of the structure.

The science of structural engineering helps structural engineers build more stable structures while pushing the current limits of design as we know it. By studying the science behind the factors that affect the stability of structures, structural engineers can design and build structures that can withstand the forces of nature and loads, even under extreme circumstances.

Structural engineering relies on the predictability of nature. Forces like wind, water, snow, and weight affect building materials in a predictable manner. The structural engineer takes these reliable principles and designs a system of supports that will resist the warping nature of these elements. Structural engineers design structures to be flexible enough to move and flex without breaking. This requires a delicate balance of design and science.

The science of structural engineering is taught in colleges and universities around the world to prospective structural engineering students. Structural engineering students study the effects of nature on structures and common building materials. They study how a fully loaded building sags and moves in a strong wind. Then, they apply these observations to the structural designs they create after graduation.

Structural engineers apply the science of structural engineering to the structural designs they create in order to produce better structures. Special structural engineers develop designs for structures in earthquake regions. These special designs are crafted to help minimize damage during an earthquake and save lives by preventing the total collapse of a building.

The science of structural engineering involves the principals of physics, geometry, and basic mathematics. Structural engineering is a concrete science, with an artistic element. Structural engineers must also be able to design visually appealing structures according to a client’s specifications and be able to adapt well enough to work with architects and builders as well.

The science of structural engineering affects our everyday lives, but many people never stop to think about the strength and stability of the homes they live in, the office they work at, or the bridge they drive across. Structural engineering enhances the lives of people throughout the world.

July 21, 2008

The Science of Structural Engineering