Beyond Aesthetics: Engineering Strength Through Geometry

Geometry is fundamental to all aspects of engineering. Basic geometric principles play a key role in planning and estimating construction projects. An understanding of the perimeter is vital to calculating the amount of material, while an understanding volume and area is a crucial factor in the design of the project.

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Indeed, advances in our understanding of geometry have often led to significant innovations in engineering and the related fields of construction and architecture. The advent of fractal geometry, for instance, allows modern civil engineers to understand the effects of soil porosity and material clumping, which would need to be factored in when creating a building.

The geometry employed in the structural supports of a building is perhaps the most familiar to the layperson. Different shapes accommodate and distribute the weight of an object differently. A few shapes, such as triangles, squares, and semicircular arcs, for instance, have all been found to be effective distributors of weight, thus lending to their ubiquity in many engineering projects.

The semicircular arch, for instance, distributes the pressure and weight in its center to its sides, which serve to strengthen the curve structure. The familiar vaulted ceilings, arched colonnades, flying buttresses, and elegantly curved domes of buildings in the past were not only easy on the eye but also structurally sound.

Geometric knowledge can also help engineers design structural systems to allow builders to think out of the box. The unique and daring shapes of many contemporary buildings and bridges were made possible due to the engineer’s understanding of the role of geometry in maintaining structural integrity, creating a mesmerizing marriage of form and function.

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Currently based in Briarcliff Manor, Reddy Kancharla obtained his bachelor’s in civil engineering from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, and his master’s from Texas Tech University at Lubbock. Visit this page for more updates on engineering technology.

Three Of The Most Common Civil Construction Misconceptions

Quite surprisingly, the construction industry is shrouded in mystery. Whatever it known about the field is mostly bad — with most people thinking that all those who are in construction do not care about the environment. This is neither fair nor true, as certain fields, such as those in civil construction or the geotechnical field, are constantly looking to improve the industry through sustainable and eco-friendly practices. This is just one of the many myths that surround construction. Below are three more misconceptions.

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It is extremely dangerous: There is no sugarcoating this, but construction work is dangerous — but not as dangerous as most think. Working in the construction industry do mean working with heavy tools and machinery and being exposed to dust and debris, but health and labor groups have ensured that safety protocols are followed diligently. This includes stipulations on the type of protective clothing to be used and enforced regular training on how to operate machinery and relevant first-aid. Companies that do not strictly adhere to these guidelines are extensively fined and in some cases, permits revoked.

Construction work is only for those who fail in school: Where this misconception originated remains a mystery. In fact, higher education is necessary for certain jobs in the industry such as architects, civil engineers, and even geotechnical consultants. These professionals had to train for several years to ensure that any designed building or monument can withstand heavy weights or even extreme weather. This is a great responsibility that these professionals take very seriously.

It is only for men: Several studies have already proven that the wage gap no longer exists in the western world. Along with this is the denial of women in any industry. Construction may have more men working in the field, but that does not mean that it is not intended for women. There are highly successful women professional in the construction industry. Many hope that there will be more women thriving in this field.

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Indeed, the construction industry is a fascinating and industry field to learn and understand. Hopefully, debunking these myths will shed more light on what the construction industry really is.

Reddy Kancharla is a geotechnical consultant and a professional in the civil construction industry. Follow this Twitter account for industry-related news and updates.

The rock-solid role of geotechnical engineering

Every structure built on the ground requires the expertise of a geotechnical engineer to ensure its stability and ability to withstand external forces. The extensive and significant scope of the roles of this field of engineering can include the following:

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Geotechnical investigation

An assessment of the ground and the environment should be conducted even before the structure is designed. Included in the evaluation of geotechnical properties are the exploration of both the surface and the subsurface, measurement of water content, and analysis of soil properties.

The investigation can involve a simple physical observation of the site or a battery of tests, such as penetration tests, soil sampling, Atterberg limit tests, water content measurement, grain size analysis, and much more.

Foundation design

The design of the foundation, its depth, and type, depends on the planned structure and the following ground properties:

  • Bearing capacity, or the ability of the ground to fully support the loads and weight of the structure or buildings;
  • Settlement, or the tendency of the soil to move downward due to the vertical strain the structure imposes on the ground; and
  • Ground movement, or the movement underneath the structure caused by climatic changes, shift in temperature, slope instability, and others.
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For more than two decades, Reddy Kancharla has been involved in the civil engineering and construction industry, geotechnical consultation, and construction quality assurance. Learn more about the Osmania University alumnus by visiting this LinkedIn page.

Paving The Way: The Most Inspiring Civil Engineers In History

Having been around for centuries, and even considered as one of the two oldest engineering disciplines, countless people have contributed greatly to the field of civil engineering. Some of the most well-known ones are listed below:

John Smeaton

The self-proclaimed “first civil engineer,” he is credited as the father of civil engineering. During the earlier part of Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, he was known for his work on windmills and waterwheels. More importantly, his study on these structures led to his discovery of the direct correlation between pressure and velocity for objects in motion in the air.

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Benjamin Wright

If Smeaton was called the father of civil engineering, Benjamin Wright is described by the American Society of Civil Engineers as the father of American civil engineering. He was the chief engineer of different canal constructions in the 18th century, including the Erie Canal, Delaware and Hudson Canal, and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

One of the most famous civil engineers in history, he goes by many descriptions, including “one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history,” “one of the 19th-century engineering giants,” and “one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution.”

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He was quite versatile that he had a hand in designing and constructing tunnels, railways, ships, bridges, and viaducts.

Reddy Kancharla has more than 25 years of experience in civil construction, geotechnical consultation, and construction quality assurance and control. He also has a decade of senior management experience. Learn more about the field by following this blog.

Ambitious Engineering Projects Of The Future

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For brilliant engineers and architects, a sketch pad is a playground for radical concepts. But some of these extravagant blueprints might actually be a reality in the future, with engineering teams and governments already planning ahead, while other projectsare already underway.

World Islands. With already a handful of spectacular designs in Dubai, it’s no surprise that the Arab country has more in store. Set to be larger than the Palm Islands, this man-made archipelago would be composed of 300 islands, organized to resemble a map of the world.

Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel. The blueprint for this is ready and is just awaiting approval from governments. The underwater train tunnel will span 79 miles of the Korea Strait and connects Karatsu of Japan and Busan of South Korea.

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Megacity Pyramids.This is spearheaded by the Shimizu Corporation andis set on Tokyo Bay. It is a three-mile long carbon-fiber pyramid composed of 204 smaller pyramids and is 14 times higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza. This structure is a whole city in itself powered by solar and wind power and algae. Within the megastructure are homes for 750,000 people, shopping centers, research facilities, and various businesses.

Reddy Kancharla is a civil engineer with more than 25 years in construction, geotechnical consultation, and engineering QA/QC.He also has more than 10 years in senior management roles. For more blogs on engineering design, click this link.

Building a Career Path In Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical engineering is a specialization under civil engineering that has a wide spectrum of applications making it a very viable career option for aspiring engineers.

Geotechnical engineers are basically tasked to look into an area’s topography, as well as the soil and rock mechanics and other environmental factors in the building site to determine how to proceed with the construction. As such, someone who wants to enter into the field will be best served by getting a degree in geotechnical engineering, structural, or civil engineering. A geology degree may also be another option as the study is relevant to geotechnical engineering, but it isn’t the most direct course to take.

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After graduation, one needs to acquire the pertinent licenses or certifications to practice as an engineer; in the United States, this means passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam to become an Engineer in Training (this varies according to state), which will qualify someone to find a job and gain four years’ work experience. After which they may take the Professional Engineer exam, the final test that determines if an aspirant can have a PE license.

As a geotechnical engineer, one may expect to be working out on the field often to inspect construction sites and see if the planned structure will be stable enough, based on the environment and geological makeup of the area, although time may also be split between a lab and office. Collaboration with others involved in the construction process is also to be expected, and having excellent communication skills will, therefore, come in handy so that plans may be executed accordingly.

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Geotechnical engineers may also choose to take further studies to be eligible for higher salaries or to be able to teach at the university level. One may also be moved to start up his or her own engineering firm or work as a consultant for clients.

Reddy Kancharla has more than two decades’ worth of experience in civil construction and geotechnical consultation. Follow this Facebook page to learn more about the engineering industry.

Constructing earthquake-ready buildings:

Real estate developers regularly consult with civil engineers to determine the soundness of their buildings. This step is universally required, and particularly sensitive in areas prone to constant weather fluctuations and natural forces such as earthquakes. Constructing viable and ready buildings for these environments takes into consideration the following:

Flexible materials: The building needs to be made with materials that are generally more flexible than those in traditional houses. Previous schools of thoughts determined that houses should be built with stiff materials; but science proves that flexibility allows buildings to adjust to the movement of the ground. Structures on earthquake-prone areas are normally made from wood, steel, or unreinforced concrete.

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Engineering designs: One of the most recognizable features of tall buildings in these areas is the truss. This is a wide base that narrows as it goes up. This provides more stability to the building. Engineers typically arrange an entire network of trusses at the base to protect against horizontal and vertical forces.

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A look at history: Location is still an important factor in construction. Civil engineers normally look at previous earthquakes within a certain location and determine how waves pass and the frequency of the waves. By determining this, they can design the most stable structure of buildings during a potential quake. A close look at the soil is also considered. Earthquakes pass through the earth and are filtered in different waves depending on the texture of the soil.

There are also online simulations that can be used to determine the strength and stability of a building. Current technologies have made constructing an earthquake-ready structure easier and more efficient.

Reddy Kancharla has more than two decades’ worth of experience in civil construction focused on geotechnical consultations. Learn more about his work by viewing this LinkedIn profile.