Use of Computers in Civil Engineering
作者:管理員    發布于:2012-05-25 15:54:55    文字:【】【】【

Use of Computers in Civil Engineering


Because interactive computing is a relatively new development, traditional use of computers has been on the basis of batch processing. As a result of the limitations of this mode of operation, the use of computers has been mainly restricted to large, complex problems which could not be reasonably treated by conventional manual methods. An obvious example is the finite element method which has been employed successfully in a wide range of civil engineering design applications. Even here, however, the trial-and-error nature of design has meant that computers have generally been employed only in the later stages of the calculations, often serving as a little more than a formal check on less rigorous calculations and a means of producing presentation calculations. This is not to belittle such use, but simply to demonstrate that it has been in terms of very large or complicated projects that computers have traditionally enjoyed greatest application; the more routine work of the designer has been little affected.


One exception to this is the use of automatic design programs, perhaps the most common being the plastic design of steel portal frames. In these the design is ‘optimised’generally using a simple criterion of minimum weight, and, having defined the problem, the computer is able to converge on the best solution. Nevertheless, computers have been implemented on the scale which might have been expected when one considers the amount of time spent on design calculations. This has of course been largely as a result of the unsuitability of batch processing, and the problems associated with slow turnaround. However, by using a computer interactively, we can now carry out a sequence of calculations, the computer doing the mundane arithmetic and the designer providing the control and making the decisions. As a sequence, a very much wider range of applications becomes suitable for computer-aided design and there seems little doubt that the engineer will be able to take increasing advantage of this valuable design tool in the future. As we have seen, the relatively limited use of computers described above can be attributed to the nature of traditional computing facilities — big, expensive, remote, operating in a batch processing mode, and resulting in a slow turnaround. Recent developments now provide almost instant access and immediate turnaround together with a fully interactive capability, and this makes it realistic to computerize even relatively simple design tasks.




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