The branch of Civil Engineering deals with the design, construction and maintenance of fixed structures like roads, bridges, transportation systems, etc. This arm of engineering gained importance during the world wars when civil engineers where responsible for building resilient structures which could be used for housing soldiers and also to obtain protection from enemy attacks.
Scope of Civil Engineering
Due to increase in the scope of civil engineering with the passage of time, it has now got diversified into many branches of study. Some of the significant ones include structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, transportation engineering, hydraulic engineering, environmental engineering and a few more important areas of study.
Functions of Civil Engineering
The most important task of civil engineering is design and planning of various structures. For this purpose, the forces acting on each nook and corner of the structure are analyzed and a stable design is finalized. This process is crucial because all the stresses and strains that arise within the structure are to be neutralized to keep the structure erect. Civil engineers must also provide allowance for deviations due to wind, seismic activity or other natural calamities, only then can the buildings resist the impact of natural forces.
Civil engineers are also responsible for building good quality transportation systems like highways, airports, rail lines, sea ports, etc. A civil engineer is concerned with determining the right design for these structures and looking after the construction process so that the longevity of these structures is guaranteed after completion. These structures should also be satisfactory for the public in terms of comfort.
Apart from structures on land and general transportation systems, civil engineers are also responsible for building good transportation systems for flow of water, i.e. the water distribution systems. The main activities in this undertaking are designing pipelines for flow of water, drainage facilities, canals, dams, etc. Dams are a major source for non-conventional source of electricity and are hence in high demand today. While designing these structures, the civil engineers take into account the various properties of fluids to calculate the forces acting at different points.
Other Applications Of Civil Engineering
Another very important aspect of civil engineering is environmental engineering. In this case, the civil engineers are concerned with applications of various methods to purify the contaminated air, water and soil. The polluted system should be cleaned, the waste extracted and the purified constituent must be sent back to the natural system.
Civil engineers are becoming more and more important in the recent years. Now, they are also responsible for looking after the fire control systems and installing quick fire exit points in the buildings they design. This will help in minimizing the loss of life during fire accidents.