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Structural engineering

Structural Engineering is largely the application of Mechanics, and can sometimes be generalized as a subfield of mechanical engineering. Traditionally it used careful placement of coordinate axis to simplify complex equations associated with tensor quantities such as stress and resulting displacements of beams or structural elements. This simplification was essential to being able to solve problems. The successful engineer must know that a structure could meet the loads specified to be placed upon it. As long as the design loads were not exceeded the structure must spring back when the load was lifted or hold steady indefinitely.

Modern use of advanced powerful desktop computers begs the question of when it will become economically advantageous to actually solve many of the structural problems via iterative methods rather than use knowledgeable human time to simplify the problem sufficient for accurate approximatation as described above.

A typical task of a beginning structural engineer might consist of performing the analysis to size the beams necessary to support a chemical vat on the second or third floor of an operational manufacturing plant.

A leader or respected member of the field would be involved in the design and analysis of everything that effects the structural integrity of a modern skyscaper or a multi span bridge.

See also: Engineering mechanics, Dynamics, and Statics

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