The Art and Science of Structural Concrete Design
|Publication Date:||1 January 2003|
INTRODUCTION AND SCOPE OFCOVERAGE
This paper explores how education can be shaped to achieve improvements in designing and building structures. "Improvements" should be measured from the multiple perspectives of overall quality, safety, serviceability, economy of materials usage, durability, constructability, impact on the environment, aesthetics, and initial and lifetime costs. Discussion is aimed at new facilities as well as the rehabilitation of existing facilities.
This paper is based on the premise that improved and expanded education is more critical than ever before as we cope with construction needs in our crowded urban areas, utilizing a mix of new construction and rehabilitated existing infrastructure, with both types of construction utilizing improved "conventional" materials and a host of new materials. Owners face increasingly complex alternative scenarios with optimal solutions dependent upon a complex set of technical, technological, financial, social, environmental, and aesthetic issues. Some of these parameters complement each other and some are in direct contradiction. Hence the challenges to the project team -- engineer, architect, materiais supplier, contractor, sub-contractor, quality control and quality assurance personnel, maintenance organization, and owner -- are daunting.
Meeting these challenges during the coming decades will provide almost unlimited opportunities for our young people, and we bear the responsibility of informing them about the excitement and challenges in the planning, engineering, and construction of tomorrow's infrastructure. Unfortunately, our ability to attract the best and brightest young people into the civil engineering business seems to have suffered from the perception that we are an old-fashioned, overly mature industry. I believe this is a false impression, but it is up to us to change how people think of concrete structures and the fields of concrete engineering and construction.
We need to capitalize on the following facts: (1) concrete and masonry will continue to be the most widely used construction materials into the indefinite future (2) research and development efforts in the past two decades have produced tremendous advances in cement-based materials, and (3) the future holds great promise for many technological developments, such as more environmentally acceptable cement production and usage, new families of high performance concretes with greatly enhanced durability and with high efficiency in transmitting loads, and exciting combinations of concrete with structural steel and with new non-metallic, composite reinforcements.
Coverage in this paper builds on my February 1998 ACI Presidential Memo on Concrete Education in the 21st Century published in Concrete International (1), and on a paper presented in Hawaii at the First Intemational Structural Engineering and Construction Conference (2). My comments are directed primarily at four year B.S. degree programs in civil engineering in North America, but some also may be applicable to our many excellent technology programs leading to Associate degrees or to the Bachelor of Technology. Space limitations do not permit coverage of overseas educational trends and practices, other than to comment on the fact that many foreign civil engineering and construction programs are very strong. It should be noted that the separate discipline of construction engineering, available at a number of schools and universities, is not treated here, even though it is a critical part of the overall picture.
This paper begins with discussion of several general design-related issues, followed by a critical review of topics that need coverage in our civil engineering curricula. Post-B.S. education and training are discussed. The paper concludes with suggestions and recommendations.