STEM Unraveled - Structural Engineering

Have you ever wondered how large structures like skyscrapers and bridges are built? Have you ever visited a skyscraper or bridge in person? If you have, comment the name of where you visited in the comments!

If you drive around a big city, you’ll probably see tall buildings and bridges! A lot of work and planning is put into building these big structures. This planning method is called structural engineering! Structural engineers have the big responsibility to make sure that big structures like these are strong and have a solid and reliable foundation so that the building doesn’t fall apart. They use math and science to design large structures.

By using math and science, structural engineers can make sure large skyscrapers and bridges handle large loads and high amounts of weight! For example, structural engineers design bridges in a specific way so that they can safely support cars that drive on top! They also make sure that they won’t fall over from strong winds or natural disasters!

Structural engineers go through four steps of building structures - research, design, testing, and construction. They research the climate of the area of the structure they’re building so that they can estimate what kind of weather conditions their structure needs to withstand. They also research the best materials to use for their structures to maximize the strength and durability of them!

The second step in the structural engineering process is to design the structure using math and science. This is done by drawing up plans that explain every detail of how the structure will be built. The final step in the structural engineering process is for engineers to test the safety and strength of the design to make sure it is safe to build. During the testing phase, engineers are looking for indicators to tell them their design is strong enough against gravity, weather, and environmental conditions. Once they confirm this, they’re ready to move forward with building their structure!

Did you enjoy learning about structural engineering? Test out your bridge-building skills with our February STEM Kit “Bridges, Towers, Wheels… Oh My!"


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