Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Journey Through Civil Engineering: Part 2

Hydraulics Engineers (i.e. wetheads)

In my last post in this series, I gave a brief overview of each discipline of Civil Engineering. Now I will proceed to break down each one in a somewhat more comprehensive manner. Because hydraulic engineering was the first one in my initial post, I will start with it.

Hydraulics Engineers deal with anything involving water transmission. This could mean moving water from a treatment plant to your tap or the removal of sewage to another treatment plant. Anytime water is moved, hydraulic engineers are involved.
There are two main type of hydraulic engineering:

1) Open channel hydraulics deals with water transmission without pipes. Drainage systems for storm runoff and water flow in rivers would be examples of this type of engineering. Basically, since the surface of the water is always open to the atmosphere in open channel hydraulics, the calculations are often easier than in

2) pipe flow. This type of hydraulics is applied in short or long range transmission of water, typically when it has already been treated or currently needs cleaning. The pipes contain the water so that it does not become contaminated or contaminate anything else depending on the situation. Pipe flow is more complicated than open channel but allows for more applications, for instance, piping water uphill.

Hydraulic engineering is important because of the implications it holds for a vast array of life from large cities to third world countries. Without proper hydraulic engineering, big cities would not be possible. Just imagine how infeasible it would be for millions of people to hand draw their own water from a single river. And you thought waiting in line to check out from the grocery store consumed a lot of time! Water transmission pipes also make tall buildings like sky scrapers possible. Though it would be possible to simply use a bucket for calls of nature and hurl the stuff out of the window (this was common practice in many cities before indoor plumbing), you would still have to either carry water up to the one hundredth floor or walk back down to the first every time you were thirsty. Both seem like a lot of exercise to me! On the other hand, it may help solve America's obesity problem.

Hydraulic engineering also helps in third world countries where clean drinking water is not abundant. In this respect they work heavily with the environmental engineers, but together they are able to create wells, water treatment facilities and, when necessary, long range transmission lines. In this way, Civil Engineering, not any medical profession, has done the most to decrease the world's mortality rate in decades past.

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