Ashot Shagirian, P.E.
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What is a Structural Engineering anyway?


Structural Engineering / Structural Engineer

noun

the branch of civil engineering that deals with all type of buildings,  and structures like towers, stadiums, velodromes and other sports complexes, airports, bridges and underground structures; made from materials like timber, structural steel, masonry, and many types of reinforced concrete. Structural engineer is a right hand of an architect.


Structural engineers analyze, design, plan, and research structural components and structural systems to achieve design goals and ensure the safety and comfort of users or occupants. Their work takes account mainly of safety, technical, economic and environmental concerns, but they may also consider aesthetic and social factors.


Structural engineering has existed since humans first started to construct their own structures. It became a more defined and formalized 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 usually one and the same - the master builder.


Structural engineering is usually considered a specialty discipline within civil engineering, but it can also be studied in its own right. In the US, most practicing structural engineers are currently licensed as civil engineers, but the situation varies from state to state.


Most structural engineers are employed in the construction industry, however there are also structural engineers in the aerospace, automobile and shipbuilding industries. In the construction industry, they work closely with architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, quantity surveyors, and construction managers.


Structural engineers ensure that buildings and bridges are built to be strong enough and stable enough to resist all appropriate structural loads (e.g., gravity, wind, snow, rain, seismic (earthquake), earth pressure, temperature, and traffic) in order to prevent or reduce loss of life or injury. They also design structures to be stiff enough to not deflect or vibrate beyond acceptable limits. Human comfort is an issue that is regularly considered in the limits. Fatigue is also an important consideration for bridges and for aircraft design or for other structures which experience a large number of stress cycles over their lifetimes. Consideration is also given to durability of materials against possible deterioration which may impair performance over the design lifetime.


You can find more detailed information on wikipedia.org


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