The infrastructure of your city includes things like roads and bridges. These things are very important. Everyone in your town depends on those roads and bridges working as they are designed to do. There are people whose jobs include making sure that the bridges and roads in your city are safe and functional. Structural engineers are included in that group.
What Is a Structural Engineer?
Any engineer is involved in the physical workings of the world. They build things, demolish things, and evaluate things. A structural engineer designs and evaluates structures, including buildings, roads, bridges, and even sidewalks and parking lots.
What Does a Structural Engineer Do?
One of the things a structural engineer does is evaluate where things like a bridge should go. That evaluation includes things like how supportive the soil around the area is, what kind of soil the area has, and if the bridge will damage the area. The engineer will also do things like test the bridge design in order to see if it will support the use that it will get, and how much weight the bridge will take. They figure out how much weight the bridge will take by evaluating how strong the materials are, and what the design generally handles.
On top of helping to plan where a bridge should go and how good a design is, the structural engineer will also inspect and evaluate the existing bridges. They are looking for things like metal fatigue, missing bolts and nuts, the strength of the design, and if there are things like rust on the metal of the bridge. Once the engineer has done their inspection and evaluation, they will be able to tell the city how well the bridge is aging, if it needs to be replaced, or if it can last longer.
Structural engineers will also try to figure out what went wrong when that infrastructure fails. If a bridge collapses, the engineer will try to replicate the events that caused the bridge to collapse. These days, that means that the engineer will use computer programs that will let them plug all the various factors in so they can look at the bridge and the events leading up to its collapse.
Without structural engineers, the infrastructure in your city would be less safe. They make sure that the roads and bridges that you drive on daily are safe and functional, which keeps you safe.