What are the Subdivisions of Civil Engineering?


What are the Subdivisions of Civil Engineering?


Civil engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the design and construction of buildings, roads, bridges, and other large-scale structures. It is an established profession that has existed since the establishment of the first permanent human settlements. Within the civil engineering profession, there are many sub-disciplines one can specialise in. Here we look over some of the main ones.

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Coastal Engineering

Coastal engineering involves the management and maintenance of coastal areas with an emphasis on protection against flooding and erosion along the shoreline. This means knowledge in the areas of oceanography and marine geology are required to gain an understanding of the interactions between the salt water and coastal structures. In addition to protection against floods, ocean waves moving towards the shoreline can also be used to generate energy. This is because the momentum associated with the movement of the wind creates a piezoelectric effect that can be harvested via an energy harvester, making this another possible area of study in coastal engineering.

Transportation Engineering

Transportation engineering involves the design of transportation systems such as highways, roads, and public transportation networks. In addition, the operation and maintenance of these transportation systems are also part of the responsibilities of a transportation engineer along with an understanding of traffic control systems.

Construction Engineering

Construction engineering involves the planning and management of the entire construction process. This includes the logistics of scheduling workers using software such as Microsoft Project, equipment, and materials throughout the lifecycle of a project, which can be anything from a highway to a high-rise building. Knowledge of construction processes is required to work in this field along with the business, management, and economic sides of a construction project. 

Structural Engineering

Structural engineering involves the design of small and large structures to ensure they can withstand the stresses and pressures of their environments and remain safe for use throughout their life cycle. An understanding of building physics and statics are required along with the local building design codes to work in the discipline.

Earthquake Engineering

Earthquake engineering involves working to reduce seismic hazards in areas prone to earthquakes. This requires the study of earth sciences as well as the design and construction of structures to withstand earthquakes. Additionally, locating the source of earthquakes along with understanding how a structure responds to an earthquake are also part of the job description. Research tasks in earthquake engineering include occurrence modelling of the frequency of earthquakes, geophysical modelling, ground-motion modeling and more.

Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering deals with protecting the public from destructive environmental effects. Some of these processes are water and air pollution control, recycling processes, waste disposal, as well as soil contamination and large-scale farming.
What are the subdivisions of civil engineeringResponsibilities of the discipline include minimizing or preventing harmful contaminants being released into the surrounding environment. This means knowledge of basic chemistry and biology are required along with the processes that can reduce and eliminate their release.

Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical engineering deals with the design of a structure’s foundations. This means knowledge of geology is required along with an understanding of the properties of clay, silt, rock, snow, and sand are highly important. Some typical tasks associated with geotechnical engineering include slope stability assessment, evaluation of landslides, rock falls and avalanches, as well as performing numerical calculations to assess the load-bearing capacities of soils and rock.

Water Resources Engineering

Water resource engineering deals with the management of water supplies essential to everyday life. This means an understanding of the basic water processes is required so a clean supply of water can be used for drinking and living. Some tasks related to water resource engineering include the design of culverts and dams as well as erosion protection works along river banks.

Municipal and Urban Engineering

Municipal and urban engineering deals with the design of basic municipal infrastructures such as streets, sidewalks, sewers, street lighting, and solid waste management. In addition, designing and maintaining public parks and underground utility lines are also part of the discipline. Some tasks include the design of waste collection networks and the documentation and update of underground utility networks.