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What are the things Civil Engineers know while others don't?


How Many Different Types of Cement are there?

Portland cement, high alumina cement, white cement, sulphate resisting cement. The list goes on. As civil engineers, we have a pretty good idea of what goes into different cements, how they work, and what we could add to make them perform better.

Technical Names of the Curves on Roads

Us civil engineers know that there are four types of road curves: simple, compound, reverse, and deviation. We know how to use the right equations to design a road with each one of these curves. Not only that, but we know how to calculate what slope the road needs to be in the curve to keep cars from sliding off the road.

Particle Sizes for Different Types of Soil

We know the minute size differences between silt (.05 to .002 mm), sand (2mm to .05mm), and clay(<.002 mm). Some of us may not even have to calculate the particle size, we can just look at the soil and know. Along with these tidbits of knowledge, we can determine which combinations of soil make for better foundations and what needs to be done to make the ground more suitable for construction.

Why There are Gaps in the Road on Bridges and in the Track on Railways

Civil engineers know that there need to be expansion joints in roadways and railways to allow the metal to expand and contract with temperature. If these aren't built into the infrastructure, then the roads and railways can fail or bow.

There is a Very Big Difference Between Concrete, Cement, and Mortar

I don't know how many times I've heard someone refer to cement as concrete – the inside of me just cringes. We know that concrete is cement with a fine and coarse aggregate and that mortar has a higher amount of cement with added fine aggregate like sand. Cement alone is simply the binding material. Civil engineers probably also know that those trucks that carry concrete aren't called cement mixers, which is wrong anyway, they are called transit mixers.

Why the Leaning Tower of Pisa Hasn't Fallen Over Yet

Civil engineers probably understand that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was kept from collapse thanks to some ingenuitive geotechnical engineering. Engineers kept the tower from collapsing by placing weights on the north end of the foundation to right the structure. Now it is believed that the structure will survive for hundreds of more years.

Where Pipes Lead to and Where Our Water Comes from

As a civil engineer, you probably have caught yourself once or twice figuring out where exactly the water from your house flows to. Civil engineers are trained to design infrastructure that never gets seen, so we have a keen sense of where all of our utilities are routed.

Not All Rebar is Made Alike

Rebar isn't just a steel rod that gets put into concrete – anything but. Civil engineers understand what the different external patterns on rebar are for and how each kind is used. There's European rebar, carbon steel rebar, epoxy coated rebar, and the list goes on.


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