Structural Design from First Principles by Michael Byfield
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Structural Design from First Principles by Michael Byfield

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Author of Structural Design from First Principles PDF

Dr. Michael Byfield, BEng, Ph.D., MIStructE, MICE, CEng, is a lecturer in structural engineering at Southampton University (UK) and runs a small structural engineering consultancy.

Structural Design Contents

  • Limit state design
  • Steel members in flexure
  • Buckling of steel columns and trusses
  • Buckling of arches
  • Buckling of thin-walled structures
  • Composite structures
  • Reinforced concrete beams and columns
  • Prestressed structures
  • Strut and tie modeling of reinforced concrete
  • Control of cracking in reinforced concrete
  • Timber beams, columns, and trusses

Preface to Structural Design from First Principles eBook

When I began my career in academia, I taught students how to use the British Standards to design members.

The Eurocodes were introduced and I was faced with the challenge of teaching some very complicated design methods to students who had only a basic understanding of mechanics.

I decided I needed to teach students the first principles and began out of necessity to write lecture notes that turned into this book. During this process, I found it was possible to tackle some problems that would ordinarily be outside the scope of traditional undergraduate courses.

Topics like the design of long-span bridges, which if treated from first principles, become quite easy to understand. I have not ignored the codes.

In fact, I have used the Eurocode safety factors and notation throughout. However, the formulae are in many cases quite different. My intention has been to convey a firm understanding—not of the current codes themselves—but of the underpinning principles.

I hope this will help young engineers to face the future, whichever design codes they use. I would like to express my thanks to Louise (my wife) and also John (my father), who patiently proofread the manuscript.

I would also like to thank Allan Mann, who found the time to read the entire manuscript and write the Foreword to this book. I would also like to thank my Editor, Tony Moore, for his help throughout.

I’ve been a structural engineer now for the best part of 50 years. Over that time, our profession has moved through a revolution at a bewildering pace. When I started out, my sole calculation equipment was a pencil, a rubber, and a slide rule.

All drawings were prepared by hand in ink. Skills in neat lettering were essential. I’ve worked through the era of the first pocket calculator, the first programmable calculator, simple desktops, and into the era of supercomputers offering incredible facilities to predict structural performance.

During that same 50 years, the amount of published work on structural behavior has been phenomenal. So as a profession, we can now rely on a huge knowledge base. These developments are a huge boon.

However, they bring with them enormous challenges. Students today have to learn most of what I had to learn 50 years ago plus things discovered since. So in many ways, it’s harder for today’s generation than it was for me.

Over my career, I’ve had the good fortune to work on just about every form of structure imaginable, from simple lintels to nuclear power plants. I’ve worked on high-rise, all kinds of roller coasters, the London Eye, and Wembley Stadium.

I’ve had to design for a whole range of conditions, from the simplest static loading through to predicting complex dynamic performance, and take on the responsibilities of preventing building collapse in earthquakes.

However, I was able to work up those skills gradually over a long period. In facing up to those challenges faster, today’s generation has computers to help. However, that advantage comes with the concern of having confidence in the validity of computer predictions.

Paradoxically, the programs that help us most (for complex structures) raise the most concern, since the designers involved can lose all ‘feel’ for what the answer should be. Chapter 9 of this book highlights the sobering Sleipner disaster as an example: I could tell tales of many more.

Hence, my advice to all aspiring structural engineers is to make sure your training includes developing a thorough understanding of the basics of how structures perform under stress before you get lost in equations.

Make sure you have the skills to check even complex structures by hand, so you can independently verify that complex strength predictions are of the right order.

It is not necessary to be precise. Indeed, any presumption that computer output is ‘accurate’ is itself a fiction.

If you read this book, absorb its timeless principles and work your way through the examples, you will learn a great deal and it will serve you well in your career.

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