or, Structural Engineering in a nutshell.

“Structural engineering is the art and science of developing load resisting systems capable of  supporting itself, other systems and superimposed loads such as to provide  load path(s) with demand-capacity  and load-deformation relationship satisfying desirable performance criteria.”

Mikhail Gershfeld, SE

This definition focuses on five essential aspects of structural engineering:

  1. Force Resisting Systems – the selection of appropriate system to  is as much an art as it is a science
  2. Structural Modeling –  the art of structural modeling involves an attempt to digitally replicate the behavior of a real system
  3. Load Path – the essential requirement of any force resisting system is to ensure a load path(s) for force flow through the system.
  4. Demand-Capacity Relationship  – the comparison of demand and capacity at of every component of the system and aggregate system is an essential part of structural design
  5. Load-Deformation Relationship – the recognition of material characteristics and behavior is essential to proper desig

The mastery of structural engineering requires deep understanding of these concept and ability to apply them in a creative way to variety of applications.