Civil engineering: a timeline of development

Another view

By: Mohammad Irfan Shah

Engineering can be seen as a discipline of science and mathematics for solving problems and analyzing the operation of systems and finding practical applications for research. In the modern world, one can see engineers engaged in the discovery of renewable resources or biomaterials for lower cost efficiency, testing engine efficiency and alternative energy sources, building infrastructure, designing drinking water systems and modern prostheses.

All branches of engineering including civil engineering, computer engineering, electronics and communication, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, architectural engineering, food technology and many more, basically cover almost every dominion of modern life, as it always has.

Civil engineering is a skill-based professional engineering field related to the planning, construction and maintenance of physically and naturally created infrastructure, such as roads, canals, reservoirs, bridges, airports , drainage pipes, ducts, structural elements of railway structures and lines. It is perhaps one of the oldest fields of engineering.

It is through massive advancements that engineering has become a fundamental field that designs and designs modern city-states. Animal trails were the first roads, which humans later adapted. Over time things changed and civil engineers started clearing trees and obstacles that were in their way (like stones or ridges to get shorter paths for different fates). A narrow path was formed because of this practice which was later used as a road. But with advances in technology, road development has had to keep pace with vehicles.

The next challenge came when vehicles with engines that could not be driven on a muddy path were invented; the civil engineers proposed a new modification. They built roads made of several layers of stones to avoid the risk of carts or vehicles slipping. Later, to overcome the roughness of the stones, baked bricks and carefully cut stones were laid in bituminous mortar on the roads.

Later in the 19th century, hoof-sized stone blocks, similar-sized wooden blocks, bricks, broken McAdam stone, and sometimes asphalt and concrete were used as building materials. paving by civil engineers to overcome problems encountered in wet weather.

In the modern world, multiple traffic lanes, road widening and proper drainage are considered and practically constructed with asphalt concrete containing bituminous cement, sand and rock having more durability, skid resistance and higher sweetness.

According to Highway Traffic Technology, the total length of the U.S. highway network exceeds 6.58 million miles, making it the longest and widest highway network in the world. It has 4.3 million kilometers of paved roads, including 76,334 kilometers of highways and 2.28 million kilometers of unpaved roads.

As reported by the International Society for Concrete Pavements, five students from SSM College of Engineering, Pattan, under the guidance of Insha Shahzad and Shafaqat Bhat, tested “the use of discrete fibers in concrete pavements” to overcome issues regarding roads developing cracks in Kashmir.

When there was no building concept, people lived under trees and in caves. Later, people used tree leaves and branches to form a tent-like structure. The construction of buildings began in the Neolithic period. At that time, people used bones, stones, metals, bark, bamboo, clay, lime plaster and many other naturally found objects as building materials. Over time, things started to change. Today, people use large stones, wood, lime mortar, mud bricks and iron to build shelters.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, building materials were used as needed. The use of iron rather than wood was preferred in the case of fire-resistant buildings; glass was used for structures where sufficient sunlight was required; bricks were molded by hand and fired in kilns; cast iron became increasingly used for columns and beams; steel was used to make construction tools and the use of scaffolding had already begun.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the industrial revolution took place, which is why we could see railways, canals and macadam roads. Elevators and cranes facilitated the construction of tall structures and skyscrapers, while heavy and sturdy machinery reduced labor. Computer aided design and prefabrication are also used now.

In the world of modern civil engineering, flat drywall glass, steel, cast iron and reinforced concrete are used to build stronger, lighter and taller structures. In today’s structures, we see wide roof overhangs, walls of glass and large windows, open and well-defined floor plans, and asymmetrical designs.

With a roof height of 828m, the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its completion in 2009, supplanting Taipei 101, the former holder of this status.

The first bridges were probably built from tree trunks, branches and stones. Over time, the use of ropes, iron, steel, and large tree trunks were driven into the beds of streams to strengthen bridges. Later, cement, water, lime, sand and volcanic rock were used to strengthen bridges.

With the growth of the industrial sector in the mid-19th century, cars and trains began to circulate, using the existing transportation system. As a result, more roads, railways and bridges were built to meet the increased transportation needs. Steel, reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete are almost entirely used to build modern bridges. The six fundamental modern bridge types are girders, trusses, arches, cantilevers, stays, and suspensions.

The longest bridge spans in the world are currently suspended. The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Hyogo, Japan has the longest main span at 6,529 feet (1,990 m).

Civil engineering is the second oldest branch of engineering after military engineering in terms of years of existence. Food, clothing, and shelter are the basic needs of all human beings, and one of these three basic needs is provided by civil engineers, that is, shelter. Civil engineers bring their drawings and designs to life.

As the world becomes more complex than ever, we must choose a profession that is considerably more in demand by the general population. Civil engineering is one of those professions that allows you to maintain your financial well-being while contributing to your community.

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