Becoming a bridge engineer
What you'll learn
- The most important steps for the design, analysis and construction of a bridge.
- The required knowledge is the one a civil engineer acquires during the university studies.
Bridges are part of our world and constitute one of the most interesting fields of structural engineering. They serve us tirelessly, causing awe and admiration to those who cross them. They stand silent and proud in a delicate agreement with nature, daring to challenge it, while respecting it. Bridges are high-demanding engineering projects, requiring the application of the most recent technological achievements and dictating the close cooperation of many disciplines, among which surveying, transportation, structural, geotechnical, hydraulic, mechanical engineers and geologists. Without a doubt, bridges are captivating projects, a pure temptation for us engineers.
This course invites young engineers in the fabulous world of bridge engineering, presenting them the basic steps a bridge designer follows for the analysis and construction of such a project. In this course, the basic terminology is mentioned and the behaviour of bridges is explained according to the materials they are made of or the way they are built. Furthermore, details for their simulation are discussed, along with the guidelines to follow for their analysis. The design criteria that determine the geometry, the structural system and the erection method are studied. Finally the design procedure is presented through a specific example of an actual bridge, and snapshots from its construction conclude this trip.
The intention of this course is to present concepts and issues that are not often taught at the Universities or cannot easily be found in the books, as they are based on the professional experience of bridge designers. Emphasis is given on the conceptual design of a bridge; how its structural design begins, which structural system and erection method should be selected; which are the design criteria that determine the form of the bridge; which are the construction phases that should be taken into account during the structural analysis; which are the deliverables that should be included in a design study and the information that should be transmitted to the construction site. In other words, how a bridge designer thinks and decides. Other issues, such as loads, required checks, analysis procedure and results are mentioned in the course, but they do not constitute its main scope, as they can easily be found in a vast variety of several other courses, books, University lectures, or codes and regulations.
Thus, the course is for those who want to reply to the assignment's question with certainty, providing solid and reasonable arguments for their choices.
Who this course is for:
- This course is prepared for young civil engineers who would like to build a career as bridge engineers, or are just fascinated by bridges.
My name is Isabella Vasilopoulou and I am a Civil Engineer with extensive professional background and experience in the field of the analysis and design of structures. During my professional career, emphasis has been placed on infrastructure projects, mainly focusing on the design of bridges in seismic regions, even under adverse soil conditions, such as landslides or liquefiable soil. For several years I have been working as Head of the Structural Department ODOTECHNIKI Ltd, located in Athens, Greece, having the overall responsibility for the design and management of the projects, training, guiding and supervising engineers and CAD technicians.
I also have a PhD in the field of Nonlinear Dynamics of cable nets. My research activity focuses on Nonlinear dynamic response and design of cable nets subjected to dynamic loads, such as the wind, considering geometrical non-linearities and investigating nonlinear resonant phenomena.
During my PhD candidacy, I participated in the preparation of class notes and teaching of the compulsory courses "Steel structures I" and "Steel structures II" at the School of Civil Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens. Until today, I continue to participate in the teaching of the postgraduate course "Design of cable and membrane structures" at the same School of Civil Engineering.
I will never forget how difficult my first steps were in the Civil Engineering profession, when all I knew based on my studies never seemed enough. I will always be grateful to my mentors for showing me the way to think as an engineer and become the engineer that I am. Perhaps this is the reason of my passion to pass on my knowledge to young engineers, students or colleagues, mentor them, share my experience with them, see them become independent and brilliant engineers and feel proud of them.