What is Structural Engineering in Civil? A Comprehensive Guide

Civil and structural engineering are two disciplines of engineering that deal with the design, evaluation, preservation and construction of elements. The difference between civil engineering and structural engineering is complicated, as it would be difficult to discern the two disciplines before understanding the concepts behind each. In the workforce, civil engineers and structural engineers are differentiated based on their area of expertise. Civil engineers design and maintain structures such as public and private buildings, water systems, airports, and roads.

Structural engineers analyze, design, build and maintain structures and materials that counteract or reinforce loads. Structural engineering and civil engineering are two disciplines within the field of engineering that deal with the analysis, design and construction of infrastructure projects. All structural engineers are civil engineers, but not all civil engineers are structural engineers. Structural engineering depends on a detailed knowledge of applied mechanics, materials science, and applied mathematics to understand and predict how structures support and withstand self-weight and imposed loads.

Structural engineers must also understand and calculate the stability, strength, rigidity, and earthquake susceptibility of structures built for buildings and non-buildable structures. The main objectives of seismic engineering are to understand the interaction of structures with shaky soil, to predict the consequences of possible earthquakes, and to design and construct structures to function during an earthquake. As companies and governments build new structures or seek to repair old ones, both structural and civil engineers will be in demand to complete these projects. Therefore, both engineering courses are important in either construction or development project.

A famous case of structural knowledge and practice that is being advanced in this way can be found in a series of failures involving box beams that collapsed in Australia during the 1970s. Earthquake-proof structures are not necessarily extremely strong like the pyramid of El Castillo in Chichen Itza shown above. The architect is usually the lead designer of buildings, with a structural engineer employed as a sub-consultant. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but civil engineers often need a license to serve the public.

Carroll Engineering Corporation, founded in 1973, is one of the largest engineering, planning and surveying consulting firms in the region. They may also need a structural engineer's license to work in structures such as schools and hospitals.

Grace Martin
Grace Martin

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