Analysis

Modeling and Understanding, Part 6 and the End For Now

Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5 give the context. Engineers create models. So do architects, economists, sociologists, physicists, biologists, and sculptors, among others. What makes our models special? Not every single structural engineering problem is life and death, but a large percentage of them carry the possibility of catastrophic failure if dealt with improperly. …

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Modeling and Understanding, Part 5

Part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 give the context. Strength and stiffness are both easy to understand in a qualitative way, as how much load something can hold and how much it will move when it holds the load, but non-engineers tend to underestimate the amount of time engineers spend addressing stiffness issues. I find …

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Modeling and Understanding, Part 4

Part 1, part 2, and part 3 give the context. Also, it occurs to me that my illustrations in this series have gone from an entire structure to a piece of a structure, to a drawing of a structure, to an analysis diagram. I’m sure that progression means something, but I’m not sure what. If …

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Modeling and Understanding, Part 3

Part 1 and Part 2 of this series give, I hope, some idea of what I’m talking about. This discussion began with the idea of intuition in engineering and I want to approach it from the investigation side. Unless a building is very simple, you don’t know what it’s structural system is when you start …

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Modeling and Understanding, Part 2

Part 1 is here and provides some context. There’s also a good Twitter thread starting here. There is, for me, no such thing as a blank slate when I investigate an existing structure. It’s not possible for me to start without some kind of assumption about how a building works because I have, over the …

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