Science of Structural Engineering | Design of Steel Structures

Scope and Importance of Structural Engineering

Structural Engineering deals with the mechanism of the structural system that is it deals with structural analysis and structural design. The structural engineering plays an important and necessary part in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, naval engineering, aeronautical engineering and in all the specialized phases of engineering. Structural Engineers are like puzzle masters.

Millennium Dome
Millennium Dome

It not just deals with the various different fields of engineering but is also interrelated with Architectural Design. Understanding the Interrelationship of Structural Engineering and Architectural Design is very essential for an engineer and an Architect…

We have already discussed “Art of Structural Engineering” in our previous articles….

People are usually curious to know what Structural Engineering is like. What is the work of a Structural Engineer??? What are Steel Structures?

Structural Designing is basically split into two main steps:

  1. Structural Analysis
  2. Structural Design

Structural Analysis

Lets first discuss about Structural Analysis. Here we will discuss what is to be done when analysing the structure before or after its construction… Basically, we will discuss how a Structure is to be analysed in terms of its structural components.

  • The structural analysis deals with the development of suitable arrangement of structural elements for the structures to support the external loads or the various critical combinations of the loads which are likely to act on the structure.
  • The analysis also deals with the determination of internal forces in the various members. State of stress and critical combination of the stresses at various points which include the nature, magnitude and the direction of these stresses and the external reactions due to the worst possible combinations of the load.
  • The external reactions are transmitted to the foundations. The methods of structural analysis and the principles involved in them remain independent of the materials used for all types of structures, whether the structures are built of plastic, aluminium, timber, reinforced concrete or steel.

Structural Design

  • After we are done with the structural analysis, our next step would be selection of appropriate materials to be used for construction.
  • The structural design deals with the selection of proper material, proper sizes, proportions and shape of each member and its connecting details.
  • The materials selected should be economical and safe. They satisfy all the stress requirements and imposed by the most severe combination of the loads to which the structure is required to transmit or resist including its self-weight.
  • After the selection of materials, we head towards making our final Structural Drawings. They are called “finished drawings”.
  • The finished design drawings with all pertinent or controlling dimensions for all the members, parts and connections are made. The finished design drawings are necessary for fabrication and construction.
  • The structural design in a limited sense also deals with the design of the various parts or members of a structure. The structural design is governed with the standard specifications.
  • The handbooks are used as working tools in structural design. When the structural steel is used as the material for the structure, the structural design is known as “Design of Steel Structures”.

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