Many may have thought me a philosopher or better still a mathematician or writer. My About and My Philosophies may have even served as concrete evidence to back-up the thought. Yet, by discipline, I’m simply an Engineer; a Civil Engineer at that. In my post: Nature Agrees, a little aspect of what my discipline entails was revealed. In as much as I love writing, love mathematics and love philosophy; I love my field and I love music too! You may not know how much I love to dance or what sweet sensations the sound of an acoustic guitar triggers inside of me. I love landscape, vegetation and flowers. And I love to paint them too. I love being creative; producing hand-made cards and composing the written content! Interesting isn’t it? I really love to do many things including playing chess! My list may never end but funny enough, just recalling the things I like have generated a lot of excitement for me. Briefly take out a moment and recall all the things you’ve ever loved doing. You could write them out, use a notepad or create a seperate word document to really do a good job. Give each quite a thought and recollect your experiences while previously doing them. Does it get you excited or make you smile? Well, listing the things I liked just worked for me! I’m really smiling right now? Did you imagine me smiling? Laughs! Since you may not be too sure of how I look, you could just smile too or imagine yourself doing that!
Great! Hope you enjoyed the diversion, break, exercise or whatever you call it?
Let’s learn a little about my profession. Civil Engineering has a lot to do with stability. It may be referred to with different names but that word could be a good synonym for balance. Mathematically, we would say things like ‘sum of upward forces equal sum of downward forces’ and ‘summation of clockwise moments equal summation of anti-clockwise moments’. Hope I’m giving those who understand and love these terms a good time?
Summarizing all those things, we usually say ‘sum of Moments equals zero’ and ‘sum of Forces equals zero’ (where Forces refer to both upward and downward while Moments refer to both clockwise and anti-clockwise). The Zigma sign usually represent summation, ‘M’ and ‘F’ represent Moments and Forces respectively and ‘=’ represents equal to or equals.
That brings us to the very word we use in engineering to refer to balance and stability: Equilibrium!
Equilibrium is applied practically and not necessarily always be making use of those terminologies that either bored you, excited you or meant nothing to you.
Civil Engineering may really be vast and complicated but I would simplify it for you.
I would be spliting it into two categories:The Vertical and The Horizontal!
The vertical simply refers to structures that rise above the ground; buildings, towers, surface reservoirs, etc In most cases they are constructed with Concrete and Steel.
The horizontal on the other hand refers to structures that lie or spread on the ground, like Roads, Bridges, airports, tunnels, fly-overs, etc. In as much as drains, pillars, culverts and even some road surfaces may be made from concrete and steel, the major horizontal constructions are done with other materials like Asphalt; normally constituted of sand, chippings, bitumen,etc mixed at high temperatures. There are other materials used in these categories but these ones mentioned are most common.
Equilibrium is normally attained in both the vertical and horizontal categories by different approaches. In the vertical, structures are usually supported! There are different types of supports that you can identify in your residencial or office buildings.
In the Horizontal category, supports are only visible in cases like bridges and fly-overs or tunnels where massive pillars are errected as supports. Such terms as compaction, consolidation, base, sub-base, etc are commonly used. Whenever unstable materials are used as base or sub-base, deformation is inevitable on the surface. With equilibrium, their is stability. Laterite is one of such materials that Compacts properly and consolidates to form a stable base. It’s only weakness is water. If water finds a way to sip into the base, laterite will soak it up and dissolve, giving room for the surface to cave in. That is why usually, several measures are taken to ensure that different layers of materials are placed accordingly to ensure the formation of smooth surfaces that will stand the test of time.
I hope I have not bored you so far? I intend to pick out a little observation.
Engineers understand equilibrium, balance, stability, etc. We study materials and their behaviour under load, pressure or the application of force. We figure out what combinations to do to arrive at composite members that withstand whatever anticipated load would be placed on the structures. We do not neglect them or our structures crumble.
How many of us have considered the processes or components that make up the stuctures we call ‘family, business, relationship, friendship, marriage, society, fellowship, school, club, team, etc’. Have you ever asked yourself what roles you have to play that you have neglected or what materials you have to invest in that you have not discovered? Have you considered the values of your companion, colleagues, teachers, students, aquaitances or any of the categories of people that you seem to have regular contact with? Are there deformations in your relationships? Are you breaking? Do you hate your father or think you married the wrong spouse? Deformations are signs of instability. These may be the signs that show that certain processes were neglected or omitted. Or that materials were used inappropriately!
I love the things I do and I love the people I roll with. I consider the things I’m part of as structures and I observe to find the supports and components. I make it a point of duty to figure out how the people can work best together and what things could keep us both happy and productive. Doing those things and doing them well makes life beautiful!
There are tasks that may have proven difficult, analyse them as structures and come up with the most appropriate design to tackle them. If equilibrium exists, collapse has no place!
Be your own Engineer and build your world to be collapse free. I have just shared the secret that keeps structures standing for ages. Use them well and be successful too!
Author: Nnamonu Tochukwu.