Innovations and Future Technology for Civil Engineers
- September 18, 2019
- Will Turner
For years, technology in civil engineering has been used to build improved structures. But innovation has always been crucial to improve the materials and methods used by construction professionals.
Building on their practical experience and modern education, civil engineers today are beginning to reinvent the building landscape. They are developing self-healing building materials and creating technologies that reduce environmental impact and improve sustainability. In the information below, we’ll outline a few of the exciting trends and technological innovations that are leading the way for civil engineers!
Cracks on walkways and concrete buildings continue to cause problems that are hard to resolve. To address this all-too-common situation, a Netherlands-based researcher has created a bacteria-infused concrete that has a unique ability to heal itself. The activation of this bacteria creates a rapid multiplication factor that helps the concrete fill in its cracks. This can improve the longevity and durability of concrete buildings, reduce costs and reduce the potential for collapse when used in combination with high-quality material and meticulous methods.
Use of Augmented and Virtual Reality
VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) are finding a home in the civil engineering world. These advanced visual experiences allow civil engineers to analyse potential buildings even before the first brick is laid. By visualizing data, civil engineers can make changes to planning before expensive mistakes are made.
3D Printed Structures and Models
Civil engineering is also seeing a dramatic increase in the usage of 3D printers. These printers have the ability to create 3D-generated models that bridge the gap between construction planning and visual design. They are even being used to print materials for complete home construction!
3D printing a home can dramatically increase construction speed, reduce errors, and improve sustainability. It is a technology used by the online civil engineering segment and is revolutionizing the definitions of what is accurate or affordable.
Use of Kinetic Roadways and Walkways
The expansion of technology to include alternative energy is a focal point in engineering. Kinetic energy produced by human foot traffic can generate electricity by way of electromagnetic induction. This can provide a natural source of energy using a system of flywheels and electromagnetic technology that can power cities, vehicles, or other high-tech equipment. It’s currently being used to provide sustainable energy to power local electrical grids and to power street lighting.
PV Building Glazing
Solar technology has come a long way since its introduction more than sixty years ago. PV solar panels are being form-fitted to buildings to facilitate improved and efficient energy generation. This new-age technology is currently being tested to construct the first buildings with net-zero energy consumption.
Homes and commercial buildings have used various forms of insulation for decades to keep heat in during winter and keep internal temperature low during the hot summer seasons. Some forms of insulation are toxic or not environmentally friendly. To reduce the use of these types of material, engineers are embracing thermal bridging. This process is a creative way of improving insulation. Heat is transferred through an ‘envelope’ that can be made of studs, frames, blocks or drywall. An ‘envelope’ around the building can increase energy efficiency or thermal resistance by at least 40 percent.
Photovoltaic Glaze is another engineering trend that can help buildings achieve net-zero energy consumption. Transparent photovoltaic glass is placed on the roof or walls of a building to collect solar energy. It is so good at harnessing energy that it can be used on vertical and north-facing walls. Not only does this help to reduce the building’s net energy consumption, it is also cost-effective, as the increase in price from traditional glass is a fraction of the cost.
A building’s structural integrity is strongly rooted in the quality of execution of each phase of construction. Improving the way parts fit together with the allocation of these materials is accomplished using predictive software. This twin technology helps civil engineers comply with government regulations and safety standards. It can also help to improve the efficiency of construction.
It is increasingly popular to build entire properties, including commercial and residential properties, completely off-site. While these structures are generally called prefabricated modular buildings, the process is known as modular construction. It uses the same materials, procedures, and methods as traditional on-site construction, but with less environmental impact or disruption. The efficient distribution of resources and supplies improves sustainability, due to fewer vehicles and less waste created on site. The best part is that they’re not just being used to create residential properties, everything from classrooms to electrical houses like you can find here are able to be built from modular shipping containers.
The cloud is used for software solutions in multiple industries. The collaboration of multiple solutions powered by cloud-based technology allows engineers, developers, architects and other stakeholders to work together. It provides a real-time review of plans, installation, and construction processes, which can reduce mistakes, improve efficiency, and discover ‘snags’ before they even occur.
Asset MappingSometimes simplicity is at the heart of improved efficiency. In fact, sometimes not using the latest technology or advanced construction techniques may be the best course of action. This is accomplished through asset mapping. It focuses on the buildings daily assets such as HVAC, security and lighting systems. It collects data used to identify unique equipment used, and displays the site where equipment is intended to be installed. It provides a platform to monitor the performance of these systems utilizing ‘the Internet of things’ or real-time access from mobile apps or other cloud-based solutions. For insurance options for civil engineers, please click here.