Materials For Civil Highway Engineer

The construction industry is the number one consumer of natural resources than all other industries. With the increasing public awareness of the demands and needs for environmental conservation and sustainable development, the construction industry is the number one on the list called to adopt the changes. Their industry practices must evolve to meet the needs and demands of the current generation and must not abuse the natural resources. If the industry continues the rate of using the natural resources, there is a big possibility that the future generation will suffer.

For instance, concrete is the most important and main building material, in fact, billions of tons are produced every year all throughout the world. Without concrete, it is unthinkable on how the infrastructure projects of nations can be constructed. In recent years, there have been breakthroughs and progress in the technology of concrete which remained unnoticed by most people.

According to statistics, there is a great progress made in the previous 25 years than in the last 150 years where cement was invented. Today, composites of modern cement can be engineered so that the strength is comparable to steel, the capacities of energy dissipation is as strong as a body armor and durable properties that can last indefinitely. Also, modern cement is aesthetically pleasing and decorative as a natural stone yet the mechanical properties are superior.

In the highway engineering structures, the fiber-reinforced composites are slowly being used. These materials have permeated the automotive and aerospace industries decades ago. Today, smart materials are also developed, these types of materials can change properties to respond to various external conditions and is used in infrastructure systems. Also, there are latest developments in metals, they are non-corrosive steels and high-strength alloys that are helping to evolve the engineering practice.

All these advanced materials are very important for the maintenance and renewal of infrastructure projects in more effective ways and can offer exciting projects that can be materials for research studies. However, even if there are advanced materials that can be used in the construction industry and some are still in the research aspect, one thing has been kept in mind, to minimize the industry’s negative effect to the environment.

To give you an idea of the materials used for civil highway engineer, these are the following:

  • Earthwork materials – rock, soil and man-made, unprocessed or processed filter media, backfill and embankments.
  • Aggregates – man-made, natural, uncrushed and crushed to be used as bound and unbound pavement layers, asphalt, filter media and concretes.
  • Cement – to be used in mortars, stabilization and concretes.
  • Steel – reinforcement elements, wires and cables for structures.
  • Bitumen, tars and asphalt for asphaltic and bituminous pavement layers.

The development of new materials in the construction industry is an indicator that they are here to help improve the lives of people and not to destroy the environment for future generations.

© Pittsburgh Highway Engineers, 2002-2017.
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