Structural engineering deals with the design and analysis of structures that support extensive loads. The structural landscapes we see around are results of innovation in structural engineering.
Reports suggest despite the structural innovations, firms are still working on base levels to enhance the adaptation.
Today, multiple companies are experimenting with new additions to the industry. The current developments in the field are dominated by computer technology, material inventions, and robotics. These innovations target structural designs and aesthetics.
The top innovations in structural engineering mainly focus on solving problems like
• Safety during construction
• Design difficulties and complexities
• Constructing intricate modern structures using traditional means
The following are 4 top structural engineering innovations and how they are transforming the industry-
1. Modular construction
The introduction of prefabricated structures took the construction world by storm during the pandemic. The advantages of these buildings over conventional building construction involve-
• Quick construction
• Less material wastage
The process involves, constructing the structure off-site, transporting it to the location, and fabricating or assembling it on the desired location. It can save potential time and resources. For instance, the buildings which earlier required 6 months can now be completed in 2 or 3 months.
Advances in technology, quality control, and commercial and residential construction applications are other prominent benefits of modular construction.
2. Material innovations
Material innovation has been sedentary in the structural engineering field. The prime materials in the construction field involve concrete, wood, and steel.
• Introductions like self-healing concrete for improving concrete’s compressive strength are a potential addition to the field. Bio-concretes have lower maintenance costs for new structures and reduce environmental costs by lowering carbon costs.
• Innovations in timber like CLT (cross-laminated timber) are another addition beneficial for sustainable designing.
• The use of high-performance fabrics for building roofs and claddings can improve light transmission and enhance water and flame resistance, ultimately improving the building’s strength. It is also beneficial during home addition and remodeling to improve existing structures.
3. 3D printing
The applications of additive manufacturing techniques to construction and design streamline the entire process and reduce labor costs. It involves an on-site machine that prints the structures from the base. It also finds applications for designing intricate components that are difficult to create with conventional methods. It also saves material wastage and associated costs.
4. Safety innovations
Safety concerns are one of the most prominent concerns in the construction industry. It involves working at potential heights, operating heavy machinery, and electricity applications. All these put worker safety at risk.
Technical innovations like wearable safety devices for tracking workers and backup systems using RFID for detecting the machine path and obstructions like workers are a few examples of technology adaption in structural engineering for safety improvement.
Innovations in structural engineering contribute towards improving and streamlining the overall process. It also opens new avenues for structural designing. Along with enhancing safety, these innovations save potential building costs. These innovations apply to existing buildings or for ADUs (Additional Dwelling Units).