Civil engineering is a field that has been around since the dawn of civilisation. Civil engineers have historically created some of the most stunning buildings with game-changing inventions that have shaped the world.
And the latest innovations have completely changed how buildings are planned and built, resulting in a safer and better infrastructure.
The most significant developments in civil engineering lately have increased construction efficiency and accuracy to unprecedented levels, enhancing people’s lives all around the world.
In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most important inventions in civil engineering that are shaping the future of the AEC industry.
From thermal bridging to modular construction, photovoltaic glazing to the Internet of Things, and drones, these are the technologies that are driving the industry forward.
3D modelling and printing technology have revolutionised the way civil engineers design and construct buildings and other structures. With this technology, engineers can create highly detailed and accurate models of buildings, bridges, and other structures before they are built, which allows for better visualisation and identification of potential design flaws.
3D modelling technology allows engineers to collaborate with architects and digitally model their plans using programs like Allplan. This not only streamlines the design process, but also improves communication and collaboration among team members.
Additionally, with 3D printing, civil engineers can physically print out models at the proper scale, providing a valuable reference tool during the construction process.
This technology has drastically reduced planning and overhead costs, allowing engineers to save time and money.
Self-healing concrete is a revolutionary technology that addresses two major issues in the construction industry: the environmental impact of cement and the vulnerability of concrete structures to cracking.
According to the studies, traditional cement production is a significant contributor to global carbon emissions, accounting for around 7% of annual emissions.
Self-healing concrete addresses this issue by using a unique mix of bacteria and microcapsules, which activate when water enters a crack in the concrete. When exposed to water, these special bacteria produce limestone to seal cracks that develop over time, preventing corrosion of the steel reinforcement.
Researchers at Bath University are at the forefront of this innovative technology and continue to develop it further to improve the durability and longevity of concrete structures.
Kinetic energy is a form of renewable energy generated by transforming the kinetic energy of a moving object into electricity.
By harnessing the energy of motion, such as the footsteps of pedestrians or the movement of vehicles, civil engineers can create efficient and eco-friendly power sources.
One example is kinetic footfalls, which are flooring systems that capture the energy of people’s footsteps and convert it into usable electricity. This technology is particularly well-suited for high-traffic areas, such as shopping malls and airports.
Civil engineers can also apply the same concept to roads (kinetic roads), allowing vehicles to transfer their kinetic energy into sustainable electricity. This can help to power streetlights, traffic lights and other infrastructure.
Ultimately, kinetic energy will allow civil engineers to achieve much higher energy efficiency, reducing energy costs and environmental emissions.
Thermal bridging occurs when heat is transferred through the building envelope, such as masonry or block, to the internal structure, such as drywall. This can lead to heat loss and increased energy consumption.
To address this problem, civil engineers have developed new building materials and techniques that minimise thermal bridging, such as Aerogel. Aerogel has been considered as one of the most effective thermal insulation materials, originally developed by NASA for cryogenic insulation.
This technology can be used to insulate studs, which can increase the overall wall R-value (measurement of how well building insulation can prevent heat) by more than 40%. This can help to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce their environmental impact.
Modular construction is a modern method of building where structures are constructed off-site using the same materials and standards as traditional on-site construction.
This approach has become increasingly popular in civil engineering as it offers several benefits. For example, it limits environmental disruption by delivering building components as needed rather than having a large construction site with constant activity.
It also makes the construction process more efficient and cost-effective. In addition, it has strong sustainability benefits, such as reduced vehicle movements, labour costs, and waste.
Photovoltaic glazing is a type of glazing that harnesses the power of the sun to generate electricity. The photovoltaic glazing blocks solar radiation from entering the building while simultaneously producing electricity to power the structure.
This technology can be used on the facade of buildings, skylights, and other architectural elements. Photovoltaic glazing is beneficial for civil engineers as it allows them to incorporate more sustainable construction materials into their plans.
Companies and residences that opt-in to this technology can also reduce their carbon footprint by generating their own electricity. This is a great way to take advantage of solar energy, one of the leading forms of renewable energy.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that refers to physical objects that are connected to the Internet. The use of IoT can drastically reduce labour costs and improve safety while still allowing engineers to have full control over their projects.
Civil engineers can use IoT technology to monitor and control various aspects of the infrastructure, such as traffic flow, energy consumption, and structural integrity. Cloud computing, on the other hand, allows for storing, processing, and analysing large amounts of data.
Together, IoT and cloud computing can be used to create a “smart” infrastructure that is more responsive, efficient, and sustainable. In addition, the integration of IoT and cloud computing also allows for more efficient collaboration and communication among all the stakeholders involved in the project, from engineers to contractors and project managers.
Drones have drastically increased the safety, accuracy, and efficiency of civil engineering projects. Utilising the latest drone technology, civil engineers can survey and inspect projects without ever needing to leave the ground.
Using drones, engineers can now access hard-to-reach areas, such as the tops of buildings or bridges, and collect data safely and efficiently.
Additionally, drones can be used to create virtual models and videos of sites that simply can’t be achieved with traditional methods. This technology is helping civil engineers complete projects more quickly and accurately.
Civil engineering is a field that is constantly evolving and advancing, with new technologies and innovations being developed all the time. From 3D modelling and printing to self-healing concrete and kinetic energy, the industry continues to push the boundaries of what is possible.
These technologies not only make the construction process more efficient and cost-effective but also help to create more resilient and sustainable structures in the long run.
That’s why it’s extremely important for civil engineers to stay informed about the latest advancements in their field, as this will help them design and build infrastructure better suited to the needs of the community.
We at Breon are committed to staying at the forefront of industry advancements and utilising the latest technologies in our projects to ensure they are of the highest quality and most sustainable.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our services, please do not hesitate to contact us.