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Popular Terms for Structural Engineers
When you talk to engineers that work on civil, electrical, and mechanical construction projects, you might find that they use certain words and terms that you have not encountered before. Knowing the following key terms should help you communicate with the engineers more effectively.
AutoCAD – A computer program that allows architects and engineers to design complicated structures. AutoCAD has the ability to render images in three dimensions. That makes it possible for civil engineers to get a complete view of the tunnels, roads, dams, and bridges that they have designed for construction contractors.
Manual Drafting – Drawing industrial and structural designs by hand rather than using software such as AutoCAD.
Shear Wall – Walls that are designed to counter the effects of lateral loads. They can be built out of a variety of materials, including wood, steel, and concrete. Many building codes require structures to use shear walls to counter the effects of heavy wind and earthquakes. Some engineers might refer to a shear wall as a braced wall line.
Lateral Loads – Any force that could potentially warp or cause damage to a structure. Earthquakes, for instance, can exert a lateral load on arches, beams, and bridges. Civil engineers must consider design elements that can counter the effects of lateral loads. Otherwise, the structures are not safe to use.
Civil Engineering – Civil engineering is used to design safe buildings, roads, tunnels, dams, bridges, and other structures. They might need to take electrical, industrial, and mechanical concepts into consideration to ensure the safety of structures.
Structural engineers have been in charge of safely constructing the buildings, bridges and other municipal projects on which society is built. Civil engineers have partnered with contractors on most major building projects in the world, creating everything from roads and tunnels to medical equipment and airplane parts.
The field of engineering is comprised of several different specialties, among them civil, mechanical, electrical and industrial. Civil engineers work to ensure that buildings and other large structures for public use are built in such a way to support the amount of weight that they need to be able to hold. They will consult with contractors throughout the building of a structure and aid in the placement of weight-bearing columns, beams and arches. They, along with their industrially specialized counterparts, will use complicated mathematical equations to determine the amount of steel required to create a building's skeleton. Mechanical and electrical engineers typically deal with objects with moving parts, such as vehicles and production equipment.
Structural engineers typically work as members of consulting and design firms. Such a company will be brought in for the planning stages of a project to make sure that the structural elements will be sound before the building construction can move forward. When seeking out a company to aid in your construction project, look for a group that has dealt with similar types of structures or scales before. Larger firms, which undertake projects like dams, tend to be national in scope, while those that tackle smaller projects may only take on jobs that are local to them. In any large project, a structural engineer will ensure the safety and durability of your structure.