131 episodes

The Structural Engineering Channel (TSEC) focuses on helping structural engineering professionals stay up to date on technical trends in the field. Our hosts for the show, Mathew Picardal, PE, and Cara Green, EIT interviews engineers ranging from recent engineering graduates to professionals from top engineering organizations on professional development topics for structural engineers to facilitate career advancement.



Topics covered include but are not limited to performance-based design, fasteners and connections, post-tensioned structures, smart structures, tsunami modelling, earthquake engineering, software solutions, seismic design, blast resistant design, wood, business issues and professional development for structural engineers, how to specify things effectively, and more.

The Structural Engineering Channel Anthony Fasano, PE, Mathew Picardal, PE, and Cara Green, EIT

    • Business
    • 4.2 • 19 Ratings

The Structural Engineering Channel (TSEC) focuses on helping structural engineering professionals stay up to date on technical trends in the field. Our hosts for the show, Mathew Picardal, PE, and Cara Green, EIT interviews engineers ranging from recent engineering graduates to professionals from top engineering organizations on professional development topics for structural engineers to facilitate career advancement.



Topics covered include but are not limited to performance-based design, fasteners and connections, post-tensioned structures, smart structures, tsunami modelling, earthquake engineering, software solutions, seismic design, blast resistant design, wood, business issues and professional development for structural engineers, how to specify things effectively, and more.

    TSEC 131: Powerful Ways to Address the Hidden Gaps in Engineering Education

    TSEC 131: Powerful Ways to Address the Hidden Gaps in Engineering Education

    In this episode, we talk with Bill Woodburn, founder and chairman of the board at Engineering Tomorrow, about the creation and impact of Engineering Tomorrow and the significant talent gaps in engineering education.



    ***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***

    Engineering Quotes:











    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Bill:



    What made you decide to start your company, Engineering Tomorrow?

    Can you give a brief background on Engineering Tomorrow and what you do there?

    How can teachers become involved in your program?

    What significant gaps in engineering education do you encounter, and how is Engineering Tomorrow working to address them?

    How did your roles at GE and your experiences in other companies prepare you for designing and building Engineering Tomorrow?

    What are the main barriers to entering engineering today, and do you see your students overcoming them?

    What meaningful impact have you observed Engineering Tomorrow having on the students and teachers you work with?

    What are some of the most popular classes you offer?

    Can you elaborate on the impact Engineering Tomorrow is having, and how can someone interested in getting involved do so?

    Do you think having these classes in high school would have made it easier for us to choose a career in engineering?

    What advice do you have for new engineers starting their careers?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Powerful Ways to Address the Hidden Gaps in Engineering Education:





    The decision to start Engineering Tomorrow came from a desire to help underserved high school students by exposing them to engineering principles. By focusing on grades 9 to 11, the aim was to inspire more students to pursue engineering, providing them with a strong foundation in math and science.

    Engineering Tomorrow provides 22 hands-on labs in fields like aerospace and biomedical engineering for high school students. These labs make math and science exciting by connecting them to real-world applications, reaching hundreds of thousands of students online.

    Teachers can join the Engineering Tomorrow program by signing up on the website to receive free kits and lesson plans, with the program handling most logistics. This makes it easy for teachers to incorporate into their classrooms.

    High school students often lack exposure to real-world engineering applications of their math and science lessons. Engineering Tomorrow bridges this gap in engineering education by providing hands-on experiences that show students how subjects like physics, chemistry, and calculus are used to solve real engineering problems.

    Bill's roles at GE and experiences in other companies equipped him with strategic thinking, budget optimization skills, and team-building expertise. These experiences helped him organize and create effective teams, leading to the successful design and implementation of Engineering Tomorrow.

    Engineering faces barriers like limited exposure to different disciplines and a lack of resources or mentorship. Programs like Engineering Tomorrow offer hands-on experiences and mentorship, helping students overcome these hurdles and pursue engineering careers.

    Engineering Tomorrow has made a significant impact on both students and teachers, fostering increased engagement and enthusiasm for STEM subjects among students while providing teachers with a comprehensive curriculum and dynamic learning experiences.

    Some of the most popular classes offered by Engineering Tomorrow include electric car design, water reuse, space labs, and machine learning projects. These classes engage students in hands-on learning experiences that ignite curiosity and cultivate practical problem-solving skills in STEM education.

    TSEC 130: The Revolutionary Aftermath of the Devastating Baltimore Bridge Collapse

    TSEC 130: The Revolutionary Aftermath of the Devastating Baltimore Bridge Collapse

    In this episode, we talk with Roberto Leon, P.E., Ph.D., professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, about the aftermath of the Baltimore Bridge collapse, including what the future holds for its reconstruction and the broader implications for infrastructure resilience.



    ***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***

    Engineering Quotes:







    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Roberto:



    Can you provide an overview of the Baltimore Bridge collapse, including its immediate impact on both infrastructure and the community?

    What are the full financial repercussions, both immediate and long-term, of a port shutdown caused by traffic congestion?

    Was the Baltimore Bridge collapse due to a design flaw or just a terrible accident?

    Can stronger bridge designs, exceeding recommended standards, prevent collisions even if they're not always implemented?

    Considering the bridge's code design standards, how old is the bridge and was it built to meet those standards?

    Did older bridge codes, like the one for the Baltimore Bridge, have a lower chance of withstanding a ship collision compared to today's standards?

    How do engineers balance the need for safety in structures like bridges with the cost of building them to withstand extremely rare events?

    Will the Baltimore Bridge collapse force the industry to rethink bridge designs for better collision protection?

    Why do we need engineers to explain the importance of safety features in bridges, since we naturally expect them to be safe anyway?

    Do cable-stayed bridges offer advantages in design flexibility or visual appeal that make them preferable for this replacement project?

    Given the need for a fast replacement, can building this bridge on an accelerated timeline be done safely and efficiently?

    With a fast-tracked timeline and potential hidden costs in the foundation, how can planners ensure this multi-billion-dollar bridge project stays on budget?

    If public awareness of bridge vulnerabilities led to increased funding, what additional protective measures could be implemented?

    With a four-year closure disrupting the community, how does this bridge rebuild timeline compare to similar past collapses?

    How will the community cope with the four-year bridge closure, affecting commutes, work access, and daily needs?

    How can engineers bridge the gap between technical expertise and public understanding?

    What advice would you give young engineers?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About the Revolutionary Aftermath of the Devastating Baltimore Bridge Collapse:





    The collapse of the Key Bridge in Baltimore, caused by a ship grounding, disrupted port access and communication channels, impacting local infrastructure and businesses and affecting the community's transportation and economy.

    A port shutdown due to traffic congestion can have immediate and long-term financial repercussions. In the short term, businesses incur losses from disrupted operations, while the long-term consequences may include shifts in shipping routes, leading to decreased port usage and a potential economic decline for the affected region.

    The Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore was caused by a collision with a fast-moving, fully loaded ship rather than a design flaw, which illustrates the challenge of balancing safety and cost in infrastructure planning.

    Stronger bridge designs that exceed standards can reduce damage from collisions, even if not always used. Engineers often recommend safety improvements, like those seen in the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

    The bridge is almost 50 years old and was built to meet the design standards of its time. Its through-truss design efficiently carried loads with minimal material,

    • 56 min
    TSEC 129: Innovative Ways to Incorporate Mass Timber in Earthquake-Resistant Designs

    TSEC 129: Innovative Ways to Incorporate Mass Timber in Earthquake-Resistant Designs

    In this episode, we talk with Ben Moerman, P.Eng., M.Eng., Ph.D., and project structural engineer at StructureCraft, about earthquake-resistant designs and sustainable construction with mass timber. He shares insights on how mass timber can enhance safety during earthquakes and the challenges it poses compared to steel and concrete. We also explore new technologies for earthquake-resistant structures and sustainable building practices.



    ***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***

    Engineering Quotes:







    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Ben:



    How did you transition from studying general engineering to specializing in a unique field like advanced earthquake engineering at a higher level?

    What kind of research did you do at the University of Canterbury, especially given the relevance of seismic lessons from Christchurch to earthquake-prone regions like Southern California?

    Are the experimental research findings from your time at the University of Canterbury now being used in new buildings, and how did they transition from academia to practical application?

    In New Zealand, do they favor performance-based design or integrate research directly into building codes when designing new structures with materials like mass timber?

    Why is mass timber considered beneficial for earthquake-resistant designs?

    How do you apply earthquake engineering principles in your daily work?

    What are the pros and cons of mass timber versus concrete and steel?

    Have you worked on any recent projects where your expertise in earthquake engineering significantly influenced the design or construction process?

    What software or technology has most benefited your work, especially considering the need for advancements compared to the concrete and steel industries?

    How do you believe your work with mass timber contributes to sustainability goals in our industry?

    How do engineers incorporate the research and development outputs from design firms into their projects?

    How long does the vibration testing process typically take, and is it done reactively for immediate issues or proactively for future projects?

    How are seismic research and resiliency strategies for mass timber being adopted globally, and which regions would benefit most?

    What advice would you give to engineers interested in specializing in earthquake engineering or those new to the field?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Innovative Ways to Incorporate Mass Timber in Earthquake-Resistant Designs:





    Ben pursued a master's degree in earthquake engineering to specialize in seismic design and mass timber. He chose Oregon State University and the University of Canterbury for their strong programs in these areas, and was particularly drawn to Canterbury's expertise shaped by significant earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

    Ben was drawn to Canterbury's research on post-tension timber systems for low-damage design, which inspired his work to improve cross-laminated timber (CLT) shear wall lateral capacity using stronger connections and a unique coupled wall system with steel links between CLT panels. This project included a major large-scale test to confirm these enhancements.

    Ben's research findings from the University of Canterbury are being used in new buildings, especially in New Zealand. This transition from academia to practical application involved collaborations with industry partners like ENGCO, which applied the research on high-capacity connections using mixed-angle screw hold downs in seismic regions, directly integrating these innovative techniques into construction projects.

    In New Zealand, when designing new structures with materials like mass timber, they prioritize performance-based design over directly integrating research ...

    • 35 min
    TSEC 128: Innovative Ways to Utilize UHPC in Construction

    TSEC 128: Innovative Ways to Utilize UHPC in Construction

    In this episode, we talk with Michael McDonagh, P.E., P.Eng., vice president and senior technical principal at WSP, about the exciting uses of ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) and the challenges and promising future of this groundbreaking material in structural engineering.



    ***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***

    Engineering Quotes:







    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Michael:



    How did your experience as an engineer compare to focusing more specifically on design, including both the advantages and disadvantages you encountered?

    Could you explain what ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) is and how it differs from traditional concrete?

    Do steel fibers in UHPC only serve for shear resistance and crack reduction, or do they also increase tensile strength or have other purposes?

    Can you share project examples where you chose ultra-high-performance concrete based on its suitability for specific needs?

    Since UHPC is significantly more expensive than conventional concrete, how do you justify the higher costs associated with using it in projects?

    Aside from its longevity, how does ultra-high-performance concrete contribute to sustainability, and are there other sustainable aspects associated with it?

    Are there guidelines or frameworks available for engineers interested in using UHPC in their projects, and what do these typically involve?

    Was the absence of a design guide for structural engineers the main barrier preventing wider use of ultra-high-performance concrete in the industry, or were there other factors at play?

    Where do you think UHPC has untapped potential in terms of regions or types of structures?

    What final advice do you have for structural engineers or structural engineering students as they progress in their careers?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Innovative Ways to Utilize UHPC in Construction:





    Focusing specifically on design, especially with ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC), has allowed Michael to delve into innovative projects and hone expertise in a niche area. This shift brings advantages in creating intricate and visually appealing designs, but also presents challenges, like navigating complexities and costs associated with advanced materials in construction.

    UHPC differs from traditional concrete by excluding coarse aggregates and using fine sand with steel fibers for enhanced strength and durability. UHPC's exceptional properties include extreme durability and resistance to permeability, making it ideal for applications requiring longevity and high performance.

    Ultra-high-performance concrete gains significant tensile strength from steel fibers, typically used in volumes ranging from 2% to 3%. The inclusion of these fibers provides both strength and ductility, allowing for innovative applications like thin, flexible UHPC slabs capable of substantial deflection without failure.

    UHPC has transformed bridge construction by strengthening connections between precast members, improving durability, and speeding up construction while reducing costs. UHPC overlays on aging bridge decks provide exceptional durability and stiffness, enhancing structural strength and longevity compared to traditional alternatives.

    Ultra-high-performance concrete can save costs in structural projects by optimizing designs and reducing the need for extra materials. While initial costs may not be lower, a lifecycle cost analysis often proves UHPC's long-term cost-effectiveness, particularly for durability-focused owners.

    UHPC overlays provide significant long-term value, with durability projections of 30 to 50 years in lifecycle cost analyses. Although project data beyond 20 years is limited, UHPC's proven durability indicates lasting benefits for infrastruc...

    • 47 min
    TSEC 127: How Technology Is Revolutionizing Bridge Monitoring Systems

    TSEC 127: How Technology Is Revolutionizing Bridge Monitoring Systems

    In this episode, we talk with Ishwarya Srikanth, Ph.D., P.E., A.M.ASCE, structural engineer at EXP, about innovative advancements in bridge monitoring systems, the integration of machine learning in asset management, and the unique challenges faced in offshore structural engineering.



    ***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***

    Engineering Quotes:







    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Ishwarya:



    What motivated you to pursue a Ph.D. knowing it would be a lengthy process, and how did you decide between pursuing a Ph.D. versus entering the industry?

    How was the transition from academia to industry for you, considering it can be tough for many people, and how did your academic experience impact this change?

    Was your research based on offshore topics, or did that come later?

    Could you please elaborate on your Ph.D. research and its potential benefits or advantages for the industry?

    Was pursuing your Ph.D. a daunting experience, and what were your thoughts as you approached it?

    When starting your research for the Ph.D., you can explore a broad scope, but how do you condense it effectively to complete the Ph.D.?

    Does the process of obtaining your Ph.D. feel like you're proving yourself or more like a confirmation that you're fully prepared and ready?

    What aspects of offshore structures interested you during your master's program, and why did you choose this field of study?

    Are offshore structures primarily oil platforms located in the middle of the ocean, or are there other main types of structures involved?

    Did you study machine learning during your Ph.D., and what can newcomers learn from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning?

    Does the prediction of a specific bridge's deterioration based on similar parameters from various bridge data involve using machine learning rather than a specific equation?

    How difficult is it for an engineer to learn machine learning, and can it be picked up mainly through online courses without extensive programming skills?

    Could you share how you balance your Indian classical vocal training and education pursuits with other activities?

    Do you have any final advice for structural engineers in their careers?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About How Technology Is Revolutionizing Bridge Monitoring Systems:





    Ishwarya was driven to pursue a Ph.D. after her master's because of the fulfilling experience she had during her thesis research. She excelled in her chosen topic and enjoyed the process of solving complex problems. When deciding between a Ph.D. and entering the industry, Ishwarya was drawn to the academic path due to her passion for research and knowledge advancement. She chose to pursue a Ph.D., prioritizing her interest in academia over potential industry opportunities.

    The transition from academia to industry posed challenges for Ishwarya, particularly in adapting her problem-solving style. Academic work emphasizes detailed research, whereas industry demands practical, results-oriented approaches. Ishwarya's academic background equipped her with a strong foundation in theory and concepts, which was instrumental in her adaptation to the industry environment.

    Ishwarya's research during her Ph.D. was centered on bridge monitoring systems with a focus on deterioration modeling, which focused on infrastructure management and maintenance, rather than offshore topics.

    Ishwarya's Ph.D. research on bridge deterioration modeling aims to help the industry by developing predictive models for bridge condition changes over time. These models assist infrastructure managers in prioritizing maintenance and allocating resources efficiently, ultimately reducing costs associated with reactive maintenance.

    • 43 min
    TSEC 126: How to Manage Diverse Designs and Project Scopes in Structural Engineering

    TSEC 126: How to Manage Diverse Designs and Project Scopes in Structural Engineering

    In this episode, we talk with Gbadebo Atewologun, S.E., P.E., about the importance of finding fulfillment in the profession and the satisfaction of seeing one's designs come to life. Gbadebo also discusses the impact of computers on the field, highlighting the increased speed and complexity of analysis. He shares strategies for managing diverse designs and project scopes, including effective collaboration with architects.



    ***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***

    Engineering Quotes:











    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Gbadebo:



    What was your journey like transitioning into structural engineering and advancing to your current position?

    In what ways have computers reshaped the landscape of structural engineering?

    Could you share your experience in acquiring the ability to conduct rapid checks on calculations for structural engineering tasks, and how successful has it been in error detection?

    How do you manage the diverse designs and project scopes you encounter, and can you recount any memorable instances of navigating significant changes in scope or design?

    When guiding younger engineers in their career progression, what strategies do you employ?

    When initiating collaboration with an unfamiliar architect on a new project, how do you ensure smooth teamwork and establish expectations for the partnership?

    Which initiatives or strategies have you noticed effectively enticing younger individuals to pursue careers in this field?

    What was your journey in honing your communication and leadership skills, and what methods do you employ to refine them further?

    How did you cultivate your communication and leadership skills, and what guidance would you provide to those striving to enhance these competencies?

    Based on your experiences, what advice would you offer aspiring engineers today, drawing from lessons you wish you had learned earlier in your career?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About How to Manage Diverse Designs and Project Scopes in Structural Engineering:





    Transitioning into structural engineering was a natural step for Gbadebo, influenced by his father's expertise and his fascination with buildings and bridges. Despite considering electrical engineering, he found his niche in structures. Graduating early, he gained experience across various projects, guided by his father's wisdom. Now, Gbadebo finds fulfillment in applying math to real-world constructions while supporting his family.

    Computers have revolutionized structural engineering, allowing for faster and more intricate calculations and design analysis through software like MathCAD, STAD, RISA, and SAP. Younger engineers face the challenge of ensuring the accuracy of computer-generated results, highlighting the need for strong engineering fundamentals alongside technological advancements.

    Swiftly checking structural engineering calculations is crucial for error detection. For instance, seismic load calculations sometimes appear unusually high for Illinois, prompting a closer look and revealing parameter errors. This skill highlights the need for vigilant scrutiny to maintain accuracy in engineering tasks.

    In structural engineering, handling diverse designs and project scopes requires good communication and teamwork. Engineers work closely with architects, explaining how design choices affect structural integrity. These experiences show the importance of clear communication and empathy in managing changes in projects.

    In guiding younger engineers, creating a supportive learning environment is key. Encouraging them to ask questions cultivates a culture of inquiry and continuous learning. This prepares them to collaborate effectively with senior engineers and supervisors,

    • 31 min

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