Structural engineering is a specialized field of civil engineering that deals with the design and integrity of structures such as buildings, bridges, and monuments. Structural engineers ensure that all our buildings and infrastructure are safe to use, while also helping society address the biggest issues, from climate change to disaster relief. Structural engineering helps to delineate the behavior of individual structural members and the most appropriate geometries and material requirements for them. It divides a complex structure into individual elements and creates a separate design and analysis for them, while providing a detailed overall structural analysis. The role of the structural engineer is an essential element in the construction process.
Structural engineers help to improve the way we build, minimize the impact that construction has on our planet, and work to make the best use of limited resources. Primarily, a structural engineer ensures that there is adequate strength for the building and serviceability. Whether designing an unconventional building or analyzing the load of concrete beams in a physical structure; things are too complex for common civil engineering methods. 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 who specialize in buildings often specialize in particular building materials such as concrete, steel, wood, masonry, alloys, and composites, and can focus on particular types of buildings such as offices, schools, hospitals, residences, etc.
Because structural engineers often work as part of teams that comprise multiple construction professionals, their ability to communicate ideas and solutions to provide coordinated responses to a problem is vital to the success of a project. The theory of structural engineering is based on applied physical laws and empirical knowledge of the structural performance of different materials and geometries. In other cases, partial collapse, without the collapse unduly spreading or indeed a significant distortion or alteration of the structure may be considered manageable. Depending on the function and dimensions of the building, building code limitations, zoning restrictions, local availability and comparative costs for all materials such as structural steel, precast concrete, reinforced concrete and timber. Basic structural engineers can design the individual structural elements of a structure such as beams and columns in a building. When describing nanostructures it is necessary to differentiate between the number of dimensions on the nanoscale.
Once the loads acting on the structure are known, the structure is analyzed to determine the effect of all these loads on the individual elements of the structure. Pyramids were one of the most common major structures built by ancient civilizations because their structural shape was inherently stable and could be scaled almost infinitely (unlike most other structural forms which cannot be linearly increased in size in proportion to the increase in size of charges). As a structural engineer I work closely with my clients to understand the function of their project in order to provide a safe, buildable and economical solution to successfully complete their project.