Materials Engineering
courtesy of Dr. R. Day
Construction of the Confederation Bridge
Asphalt Pavement
Avalanche Mechanics
Development of New Building Materials

Materials Engineering as a sub-discipline of Civil Engineering is primarily concerned with the development of new or improved materials for constructing Civil Engineering structures such as buildings, bridges, roads, sewers, dams, airports, etc. Materials engineers are also involved in design of materials and methods to repair existing structures that may be damaged due to, for example, attack by our aggressive environment, structural overload, earthquakes, storms, etc.

The role of the materials engineers spans across all of the disciplines within engineering, because all of these disciplines (transportation, structures, water resources, geotechnical, environmental) use materials in their designs. Accordingly, a materials engineer's job is highly varied: from choosing among a host of suitable materials to re-surface a road on one day, to designing a concrete mix for a large building on another, to participating in a research project to develop strengthening techniques for a damaged building column on a third.

Concrete Surfacing
Reinforced Concrete Home in Avalanche Risk Area
Rehabilitation of Infrastructure
Materials Engineering in the Future

The scope of the materials engineer ranges from the "huge-scale" to the "tiny-scale". For example:

The CN tower in Toronto, for a long time the world's tallest "free-standing structure", could not have been constructed without the crucial input of materials engineers. A special type of concrete and innovative construction and testing procedures were used to ensure that the tower could be built safely in record time.

The Confederation Bridge that joins New Brunswick with PEI is a major accomplishment of Civil Engineers. Materials engineers were involved in designing the concrete and construction methods for this massive structure to ensure the bridge will last for a predicted 100 years and beyond.

The base of the bridge piers under construction. These must withstand tremendous ice-pressures and erosion due to ice-movements. Accordingly, special concrete was used to shield the piers against ice damage.

The massive girders that span the Northumberland strait, under construction. The worker below is inside the girder while the worker above is standing on the road-deck, shown during construction.

Two spans of the bridge shown during construction

Want to Know More?

Snow Properties and Avalanche Initiation is also a part of Materials Engineering

Cement Association of Canada

American Concrete Society

American Iron & Steel Institute

Canadian Wood Council


Brick for Mars - The PEGG Nov 2001



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