From the ancient pyramids of Egypt to the complex Roman road networks to the Great Wall of China, humans have long sought to build momentous structures to show our dominance on the planet. All these amazing feats couldn’t have been possible without an adept knowledge of the basic principles of physics and mathematics. Little wonder civil engineering is regarded as one of the oldest engineering disciplines, second only to military engineering.
In this post, we’re going to explore what makes civil engineering important to human society; how it shaped human civilizations, and how it continues to influence our lives in more profound ways.
What Is Civil Engineering?
Civil engineering is an engineering discipline that involves the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and natural environment; including public works like roads, dams, sewage systems, bridges, airports, railways, pipelines, and structural components of buildings.
Roles or Civil Engineers
Civil engineers make use of the principles of civil engineering to design the many structures we see around us. They are responsible for planning and overseeing different construction efforts and applying civil engineering principles to ensure that constructed structures are safe and sturdy.
A civil engineer is responsible for analyzing the factors regards a construction project; including land feasibility, and the processes required to complete the job.
After the situation has been analyzed in the planning phase, the civil engineer then prepares a detailed report that highlights all factors that must be considered before construction commences.
The civil engineer creates a concrete construction plan, ensuring that all regulations, guidelines, and laws are adhered to.
During the construction phase, the civil engineer meticulously follows the project from start to finish. He or she also makes the necessary changes along the way. They also make sure the safety features of the project are maintained.
The Importance of Civil Engineering
Human civilization rests on the staunch back of civil engineering. Here’s are some of the aspects of human society that would be impossible without civil engineering.
Construction engineering involves the planning and execution, transportation of materials, site development based on hydraulic, environmental, structural, and geotechnical engineering. Anytime you see tunnels, airports, railroads, skyscrapers, dams, utilities, telecommunication lines, and many more, just know that without civil engineering, they’ll all be impossible. Civil engineers apply complex engineering principles that ensure those structures stand.
Our actions have led to massive pollution on our planet. Environmental engineering is a sub-discipline of civil engineering that deals with the treatment of chemical, biological or thermal waste, and the purification of water and air. Environmental engineers administer pollution reduction, industrial ecology, and green engineering. They help us understand the consequences of our actions on the environment.
Urban centers are known for their municipal infrastructure. From sidewalks to water supply networks, street lighting, sewer system, waste management systems, civil engineers are responsible for all of that. Civil engineering plays a crucial role in the development of underground utility networks, the distribution of electrical and telecommunication networks, bus service networks, and more.
Water Resources Management
Water resource engineering, a sub-discipline of civil engineering, is concerned with the collection and management of water resources. It also involves the prediction and management of both the quantity and quality of aquifers and surface waters like rivers, lakes, etc. This area of civil engineering finds useful applications in the construction of dams, water pipeline networks, and more.
Transportation engineering is a sub-discipline of civil engineering that concerns itself with the efficient, conducive, and safe movement of goods and people from one point to another. This involves the design, construction, and maintenance of streets, rail systems, airports, mass transit, canals, and more. We all have civil engineering to thank for that.
When it comes to managing coastal areas, it cannot be done without the principles of civil engineering. It helps in designing defense mechanisms against flooding and erosion.
Many of the world’s civilization depends on materials like ceramics, concrete, asphalt, strong metals like steel and aluminum, thermosetting polymers. Material science is closely linked to civil engineering and it attempts to understand the fundamental properties of these important materials. Moreover, this sub-discipline has been at the forefront of nanoscience and nanotechnology, materials that will continue to have a greater impact in the future.
The complex structures that cover our landscape have to be able to withstand forces from within the earth. Thanks to earthquake engineering, we can understand the interaction of structures to shaky grounds. This ensures that structures are built to perform well in the event of an earthquake.
Surveying is the process of analyzing and recording the characteristics of land areas span to help design a plan or map for construction. Surveyors lay out the routes of highways, railways, pipelines, roads, streets, and the position of other infrastructures like harbor before construction commences.
Civil engineering is also important in many other fields like geotechnical engineering, forensic engineering, and structural engineering. In short, a large part of our day-to-day life can be traced to civil engineering.
From the water we drink to the pavement we drive on to the buildings we reside in, the work of civil engineers surrounds us all. Complex transport systems connect points within a community. Road, air, sea, and rail networks span the entire globe – thanks to the hands of civil engineers. Civil engineering makes trade, travel, the exchange of ideas and information, healthcare, education, industry, and more possible.
Over the past few decades, our electricity demand has skyrocketed and it will continue. Civil engineers will be at the forefront of developing structures that consume as little energy as possible. As the world population surges, civil engineers will be responsible for building structures that will support us all.
Without civil engineering, it’s hard to imagine how the world we live in would look like, but we can be certain that marvelous man-made structures that fill our landscape will be absent. And as it stands, civil engineering will continue to play a role in human civilizations far into the future.
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