Review Category : Articles

The extraordinary devastation left by storms, earthquakes, and wildfires in 2017 dominated the news media for months. Many of our colleagues around the globe were directly affected by these events but still rose to the challenge by volunteering as emergency responders or by joining teams to study and report on lessons learned. Whether impacted or not, structural engineers keep the public safe from disasters every day.

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Throughout the ages, humanity has been warned – do not build on weak foundations. Even the “Good Book” uses a parable of a home built on sand to emphasize the importance of a solid foundation in life.

However, the wise sages of the past did not live in today’s fast-paced world. As hard as most members of today’s society try to be good stewards of the land, some things get pushed to the wayside… literally.

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Helical piles are subject to special inspections, similar to deep foundations, but engineers have several choices when looking for the best way to install them. Currently, there are no standards for the installation of helical piles. However, helical piles should be installed and inspected in accordance with all relevant requirements listed in the governing building code.

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Modern engineering tools and techniques enable structural engineers to continually redefine the limits of possibility. Nowhere is this more evident than in supertall buildings, where controlling wind-induced sway has become a critical aspect of project success.

The use of tuned mass damping systems has become a mainstay in attaining this control, in large part because each custom-designed system can be tuned to match the as-built characteristics of the building. They also provide a much more efficient solution than adding more mass or stiffness.

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The Eads Bridge was, perhaps, the best-known bridge of the 19th century after the Brooklyn Bridge. A bridge across the Mississippi River had been projected as early as 1839 when Charles Ellet Jr. (STRUCTURE, October 2006) proposed a 1,200-foot span suspension bridge. John A. Roebling (STRUCTURE, November 2006) also proposed a hybrid bridge, with a pier at mid-river, a short time later.

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Engineering Habitats for the Moon and Mars

Several decades after the first space age, there is renewed interest in space exploration and specifically in future human habitation far beyond the Earth’s surface. NASA recently received funding with an ambitious target: to send a manned mission to Mars by the 2030s and allow for future human habitats and even cities.

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The Effects of Base Material Temperature during Installation and In-Service Use

Post-installed adhesive anchor systems have been used for many years for the attachment of threaded rods and reinforcing bars to concrete and other masonry base materials. The code that governs the design of adhesive anchor systems is the American Concrete Institute’s ACI 318-14, Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete, Chapter 17 “Anchoring to Concrete.” The test reference is ACI 355.4, Qualification of Post-Installed Adhesive Anchors in Concrete.

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The Importance of Project Management

Structural engineers take classes in calculus, physics, statics, mechanics, structural analysis, and structural design during their undergraduate years. In graduate school, they take courses in structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, advanced structural analysis, and advanced structural design. In theory, with this knowledge, the newly minted graduates are ready to make the transition from academia to the realities of working in an engineering firm.

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