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.
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.
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.