Part of any structural design process is selecting the material to build your structure from. This is an optimisation process, where you choose the materials based on their strength, ease of fabrication, durability, cost and other factors. Something that often gets overlooked in this process however is the potential for galvanic corrosion.
A common issue that I see in my role as a structural engineer is corrosion (and lots of it!). After finding some corrosion, I’m often asked: “how much strength has been lost”?
In my last post I began by saying that I felt that I had missed out on the importance of stiffness in structural engineering while I was at University. I also gave an example of where considering the stiffness of a structure’s supports had been a useful tool. In this post I want to continue with another example where the stiffness of the structure itself (not the supports) was important.
No university course can teach you everything about engineering, and mine wasn’t an exception. One of the things that I didn’t learn about at uni (or that I missed…) was the use and importance of stiffness in structural analysis. Since uni though, and especially in the last few years I have been gaining a greater appreciation of how useful it can be.
Over the past month or so I have been helping a new colleague start a secondment role at a large industrial site where I have done a lot of work over the past 10 years. In the short time he has been on site there have been at least 4 incidents where damage has been identified in structures where I (as an outside consultant) know more of the history of the issues than those on site seem to (at least so far as I can tell):
About 18 months ago now I came as close as I ever want to be to being an industrial accident statistic. A fairly simple inspection of a small walkway almost ended up in disaster. This post shares some of my thoughts about it, in the hopes that it can help someone else avoid a similar incident.
Shortly after writing my previous post on Structural Integrity, I came across a great real world illustration of why engineers who specialise in structural integrity are valuable. It was also interesting because it made me realise that something I had thought was impossible actually is both possible and does occur in real structures.
The company I work for specialises in Structural Integrity, which is a niche area of Structural Engineering. At university I never even heard the phrase “structural integrity” let alone learnt anything about it. A google search shows a few references to structural integrity in a mechanical or aeronautical context, a lot of engineering companies claiming to provide structural integrity services and not much else. A search on Amazon shows that there isn’t even an introductory textbook.
Welcome to If it’s Moving, it’s Broken, a structural engineer’s take on the world of of Structural Engineering, Structural Integrity, Computer Programming and anything else that interests me. I am hoping that by writing this blog I can share a little of what I do, and at the same time improve my writing ability.