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Structural Engineering

A structural engineer is an engineering professional who practices structural engineering. Structural engineers inspect, analyze, design, plan, and research structural components and structural systems. Their work takes account mainly of technical, economic and environmental concerns, but they may also consider aesthetic and social factors.

Most commonly, a structural engineer is involved in the design of buildings and nonbuilding structures, but also plays an essential role in designing machinery where structural integrity of the design item is a matter of safety and reliability. Large man-made objects—everything from furniture to medical equipment and from vehicles (trucks, aircraft, spacecraft and watercraft) to cranes—require the input of a structural.

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. In the UK, most structural engineers in the building industry are members of the Institution of Structural Engineers rather than the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Typical structures designed by a structural engineer include buildings, towers stadia and bridges. Other structures such as oil rigs, space satellites, aircraft and ships may also be designed by a structural engineer. 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). They also design structures to be stiff enough to not deflect or vibrate beyond acceptable limits. Fatigue may be an important consideration for bridges and for aircraft design, or for other structures which experience a large number of stress cycles over their lifetime. Consideration is also given to durability of materials against possible deterioration which may impair performance over the design lifetime.

Specializations

Architectural Structures   Civil Structures
  • Building Engineering
  • Demolish Engineering
  • Façade Engineering
  • Fire Protection Engineering
  • Roof Engineering
  • Tower Engineering
  • Wind Engineering
 
  • Bridge and Viaduct Engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Offshore Engineering
  • Retaining Structures and Wall Engineering
  • Pipeline Engineering
Mechanical Structures   Industrial Structures
  • Airframe and Fuselage Engineering
  • Coachwork and Carriage Engineering
  • Vessel and Hull Engineering
  • Heavy Lifter and Traveler Engineering
 
  • Forensic Engineering
  • Material Engineering
 
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