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Re: Technology and Structural Engineering

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"Knowing, how to do by hand" & "doing by hand" are two different things altogether, and the very point of my email. Someone who knows how to do it by hand & by computer as well, & uses a computer, will come out with a product with a higher structural integrity & efficiency, THAN someone who does it by hand.
 
Regards
 
Pankaj Gupta
Structures Online.
India
 
 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 9:11 PM
Subject: Re: Technology and Structural Engineering

From the bridge end, the critical part of the analysis is the assumptions
and the modelling.  Often, those who know how to do the calcs by hand have a
better grasp of what is going on in the structure.  Some of the bridges we
are now analyzing for seismic capacity are my own old designs and I have
been quite relieved at how well my old hand calcs have compared to the new
computer results.  Having said that, I have no desire to give up my
computer.

-----Original Message-----
From: Structures Online <3.sol(--nospam--at)spectranet.com>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Wed Aug 31 08:23:23 2005
Subject: Re: Technology and Structural Engineering

While I fully agree that knowing the basis of mechanics (both statics &
dynamics) is essential for any structural engineer, I cant understand what
is the need of designing a 20 storey building (or for that matter the
simplest or smallest of structures) by hand in today's world. And let me add
that doing it by hand is superlatively inferior to designing it by a 3D
modeling software (specially the analysis part). I have seen and compared
results, the calcs done by hand are grossly conservative & grossly wrong in
many areas, not to say it takes a much longer duration. Most of the
assumptions give wrong result. The basic problem is that by hand we do not
distribute the forces in relation to the displacements, which "in plain &
simple words" is WRONG. One such example was recently given by Christopher
Wright in terms of distribution of slab loads to beams. I can give hundreds
of such examples.
 
When the tools were not available, there was no choice but to make those
assumptions so as to be able to do the calculations in a feasible time frame
(translating to economic viability). But I would say it is criminal, to do
it by hand in today's world when the tools are available. Using these tools
do not imply that you should devote less time to a project. It simply means
we should make the project more structural efficient (implying optimize
between safety & economy) by giving it the same amount of time. The error
lies in trying to design a 100 storied building in 1 day (although one may
think that he can do it).
 
I would also like to make a statement that some would probably not like, but
the fact is that someone who designs only by hand, knows less about
structural behaviour than someone who uses all these available tools. It
takes 1 minute to rotate the orientation of a column, or increase the size
of the beam & see the impact on the whole structure. The overall
comprehension of structural integrity & efficiency obtained by playing with
structure on a 3D software cannot be obtained by knowing basic statics or
dynamics.
 
All my ranting above, also answers in part, the role of technology in
Structural Engineering, as asked by Chitra. To add, technology in every walk
of life, is a double edged sword, it can either make your life better, or it
can simply destroy you. But the choice is most of the time, ours.
 
And as Ralph said ">Wouldn't go back for the world.   :)
 
 
Regards
 
Pankaj Gupta
Structures Online.
India
 
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Gary Hodgson  <mailto:ghodgson(--nospam--at)bellnet.ca> & Associates
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 5:13 PM
Subject: Re: Technology and Structural Engineering


Ralph,
I'm with you-graduated in 1961. I bet if you asked one
of the recent graduates to design a 20 storey building
by hand, they wouldn't know where to start.  Graphic
analysis and moment distribution?  How did they design
the Empire State building?
Gary


On 31 Aug 2005 at 0:50, Rhkratzse(--nospam--at)aol.com wrote:

> I realize that I'm the only person on this list who remembers what
> engineering was like in the 1960s, but the mechanics of producing
> calcs., specs., and drawings were SO much more difficult, and the
> physical quality was so much lower.   I emphasize PHYSICAL quality
> because I DO NOT mean engineering quality.   I mean illegible
> calculations (not spread sheets, etc.), actual cut-and-paste and then
> type and mimeograph specifications, and "Xerox" things one page at a
> time, and erasing your way through the tracing.   Hail, I even knew
> architects who still used ink on linen!   Now we have recent graduates
> who can design 100 story high rises over night, complete with
> color-coded working drawings, having analyzed 100 load combinations,
> but the welds fail in an earthquake.    Oops!   Supposedly the guy who
> designed the Seattle Space Needle just stuck 3 of the heaviest WF
> shapes made into a triangle for each leg and checked it with his slide
> rule ... and it's still there!  
>
> Enuf reminiscing.  
>
> Wouldn't go back for the world.   :)
>
> Ralph Hueston Kratz, S.E.
> Richmond CA USA
>
> In a message dated 8/30/05 9:35:21 PM, chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com writes: >
> That said, I'm not all that certain that the technology doesn't seem
> to > have made across-the-board improvements in engineering
> productivity, > certainly not in the manufacturing areas where I work.
> I've heard a lot > of claims, usually by software developers, but I
> don't see as much > overall impact in particularly improved design
> methodology, lower costs > or shorter design lead times.
>



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