When a structural design engineer designs a building, they must ensure the structure follows the laws of physics.
The job of a structural engineer is one of the most important aspects of design. If you don’t know exactly what structural design is, this article will give you a glimpse.
Let’s get started.
What is Structural Design?
To understand structural design, you need to think of the two main principles, mathematics and physics. Those who work in structural design and engineering must apply the laws of physics and make mathematical calculations to produce a final product.
Both of those elements work together to determine the structure and the strength needed in the materials.
Overall, structures need to be designed to sustain their weight as well as other pressure added to them.
The Basic Principles of Structural Design
As we already mentioned, structural engineerings need to rely on physics to ensure the structures follow the laws of physics and can withstand their weight and the forces of the elements.
Structural designers must incorporate problem-solving skills among the other different principles and put them together to create a strong structure. During the design phase of the project, structural engineers will set the tone for the duration, the cost and budget, and even safety.
Understanding What Impacts Structural Design
The main concern of structural engineers is to ensure the structure is safe and stable.
For example, an engineer designing a library will have to not only ensure the building itself can withstand the elements, but also has to account for the weight of the books.
Another example is a train platform, the engineer has to make sure it doesn’t collapse with the weight of the train, but also all of the passengers that will stand on the track every day.
The three main forces engineers look at are the magnitude, direction, and position.
Magnitude: It measures the size of the force that will be applied to the structure.
Direction: Direction measures which way the force is coming from. For example, the wind blowing towards the side of a building.
Position: It measures the position of the force against the building.
Elements Must Remain Stationary
Think of the foundation of a sandcastle, you might have noticed it isn’t the most stable. Structural engineers face problems like this constantly and they have to figure out how to create a strong and stationary foundation.
In the case of a sandcastle, they have to think off all the forces that would prevent it from remaining stationary such as water, wind, and unsteady floor.
The Appropriate Materials
Selecting the appropriate materials is important for structural engineers. They must ensure they’re strong, elastic, tough, and have enough plasticity.
Strength: How strong a material is after stress is applied
Toughness: The much energy and force it takes to crack a material
Elasticity: The ability of a material to stretch before returning to the original shape
Plasticity: Measures the capacity of a material to resist plastic deformation. It means the material stretches too much it’s unable to return to its original shape.
To Sum it Up
Knowing the basics of structural design will help your company learn all the work that goes into a building. For starters, the structure must be stationary, the right materials should be chosen, and the basic principles understood.
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