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Civil engineering is most often associated with roads, bridges, buildings and dams. But civil engineering has always been a major facet of society and culture. Examples of civil engineering designs abound throughout history, from the construction of the Pyramids in ancient Egypt to the Great Wall of China. In Australia's history, civil engineering has led the way for some of our most distinguished structures. From highways to skyscrapers, great feats have been achieved within the field in the past 150 years.
A structural engineer focuses on the design and analysis of structures, such as buildings and bridges, to determine how well these structures will hold up to various environmental factors, including earthquakes, typhoons and high winds. Structural engineers are also well versed in the properties and behaviour of the various materials used in construction.
Geotechnical engineering incorporates science and technology to create projects and solve problems relating to geology. Construction projects involve tunnels, pipelines, mines, levees, embankments, stable slopes and structural foundations. The engineer must also consider soil conditions in all of these scenarios, as the project might not succeed if the soil is unsuitable.
Environmental engineering analyses environmental problems and develops solutions to those problems. This discipline combines the study of environmental science, mathematics, atmospheric science, biology, hydrology, chemistry and engineering technology. Improving air and water quality, locating and treating underground water sources, solid waste management, rehabilitating contaminated industrial and residential areas, and treating non-hazardous and hazardous substances are all tasks undertaken by environmental engineers.
4. Water resources
A water resources engineer finds ways to improve the quality and quantity of water and water sources. Hydrology, meteorology, fluid dynamics and environmental science all play a part in water resources engineering. These specialists concentrate on flood and storm water analysis, wetland protection, groundwater remediation, water supply planning and management, wastewater treatment and beach erosion control.
Every single civil engineering project involves construction - a structure needs to be erected, a tunnel needs to be dug, a road needs to be laid, a treatment plant needs to be built. Construction engineers manage these projects.
Transportation engineers are responsible for designing, constructing and maintaining highways, railways, airfields and ports. Besides researching and improving traffic control, these engineers develop new methods of transportation and find ways to improve mass transportation.
For more information, visit the Engineers Australia website.