New, exciting buildings continue to pop up on the landscape of our cities. We’re seeing more and more unique concepts that make for a much more visually appealing place to live. Some of them can even be seen in design magazines.
Like computer science, robotics, and materials improve, structural engineers are starting to develop a new blueprint. In structural engineering, innovation is being driven by professionals with new ideas on technology who are excited about their work. They are using creative new ideas to achieve their goals in projects.
The field of architecture is rife with problems and struggles these days, such as construction safety and sustainability. These are exactly the sort of issues that recent innovations in the field are solving, such as using cutting-edge technology to build intricate structures without extensive traditional techniques.
These are great examples of the newest innovations in structural engineering. They give us a lot of insight into how the field is changing and evolving.
1. Improved Safety Technology
Making buildings safe for anybody who will use them is a huge and important task. You need to protect people from the stresses of construction such as electricity, heights, and heavy machinery.
Safety is one of the biggest concerns for any industry. With new safety technology like this, we can reduce many of our industry’s past risks. Wearable safety devices, smart backup systems, and VR-powered training are three new technologies the industry has adopted to improve its safety.
The first, wearable safety devices, are typically worn on the wrist or arm that track a worker’s location, speed of motion, and heart rate. These devices have allowed companies to identify potential hazards and adapt their work processes accordingly.
Additionally, they can help to prevent certain types of accidents by providing warnings when there is a risk of the individual wandering off a designated path, falling, or speeding up. For example, when an individual is working on a high tower, these devices can alert their supervisor if they are moving too quickly and need to be slowed down to prevent falling.
The second innovation, smart backup systems, are automated systems that give workers a visual display and sound alert for tasks such as turning off valves or setting their brakes. These systems have reduced the number and severity of injuries workers suffer on a daily basis.
Smart backup systems are also helpful in emergency situations when it would be too dangerous for a worker to enter the area in question. For example, if there is an impending collapse, smart backup devices can warn the worker and give them time to escape before the situation becomes critical.
Working with this type of safety measure, like fencing or coverings, protects construction workers by providing an additional line of defense.
2. Sustainable Design
The changing landscape of sustainability is a big concern to our generation and the next few. We, as Structural Engineers have not been completely involved in figuring out solutions that could work for both cost-effective and impactful projects.
As the need to be environmentally conscious continues to grow, design engineering is changing drastically. It’s true that designing buildings often come at a high cost, and that has a significant effect on sustainability.
Designers must understand embodied carbon and how this impacts design choices. They have to be in the know about how material choices influence emissions. Structural Engineers can design for it.
Now time is changed, earlier structural engineers left discussions on sustainability to only using fly ash in concrete.
3. Self-Healing Concrete
Concrete is one of the most popular materials for construction and with self-healing options on the rise, it’s no wonder why. Conventional methods only use chemical resins in capsules to “heal” cracks as they develop. Concrete structures that undergo stress can break and release these capsules, which form a new bond.
As innovation continues to grow, more and more options for sustainability surface. Some of the most popular examples include biodegradable concrete which uses capsules containing limestone precipitating bacteria.
When water is introduced to the cracked space in this self-healing concrete, it activates the bacterial spores. This then results in a chemical reaction that quickly heals the gap. The bacterial solution is then activated and it goes to work. It involves the bacteria-producing minerals, which seal the crack in your concrete. The result? Increased compressive strength of 16%.
Building materials like bio-concrete are a great way to save some money and reduce the need for repair. They can also be used to extend a building’s lifespan and keep them in good condition over time.
You also might be able to save some money and cut down on pollution with self-healing concrete. By using less for maintenance, you can save on the cost of resources and the carbon emissions that come from transporting them.
4. Integrated Digital Platform
Structural engineering firms have created digital platforms to work more seamlessly with others. They can share ideas and plans internally and with partners.
These platforms involve a community of people, processes, and tools that facilitate the flow of data, information, and knowledge across the delivery systems. One such example is using Revit to model a structure in 3D and then sharing that model with professionals around the world.
Teams at these high-performing firms use tools like Rhino & Grasshopper because they work by visual programming and parametric modeling, which are important processes in every design office.
It’s not just that there are specialists who create bespoke software tools to improve designers. There are also digital platforms, with engineers, modelers, and project managers constantly on teams to build information modeling.
5. Systematic Site Management
Many engineering firms are using drones to survey construction sites before, during, & after their building process. There are many benefits to using this technology, including a better understanding of the project’s build-up and monitoring the current state of construction in real-time.
Drone mapping is becoming more and more popular as it can provide a much clearer understanding of the ground, you should really consider using this service. They can give you detailed readings on the land to help with important earthworks and even when building foundations.
These drones may free up staff for more important tasks and can also spare inspectors from dangerous or difficult inspections.
6. Use of Modern Materials
For a very long time, structural engineers have only had limited options when it comes to materials. They could only use concrete, steel, wood, or masonry (i.e bricks and mortar). Most buildings are made with these materials even today.
One of the potential downsides of concrete is that it’s pretty low in terms of design variety. There are some exciting developments at the edge of this material, providing new avenues for engineers, architects, and owners.
One example of innovative approaches to using timber is in buildings. The increased demand for more sustainable buildings has led to mass timber becoming a much sought-after material. With this increasing demand, there have been many positive advances in terms of using it.
The structural engineering sector is using new technology to develop innovative designs for buildings. Prefabricated Building materials, scanning drones, and new engineering platforms can all change the progress of construction. They allow us to be more efficient and come up with innovative ways of thinking.
Advances in building safety and material research are making repairs safer and less expensive. Self-healing concrete is the perfect example of this it’s a crucial innovation for furthering the safety of our buildings.
If you don’t implement innovative engineering methods, your company may soon be behind the competition and will miss out on future business. So it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest news and make sure you’re using the most modern techniques available.