Advice for students who want to start research in Civil Engineering

In summary, the students want me as one of their advisors and I'm trying to come up with some ideas on how to help them. I have some experience in teaching Statics and Mechanics of Materials and have some knowledge of earthquakes. If you have any other ideas, feel free to let me know.
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arestes
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Summary:: I'm a Physics instructor (no formal Engineering training) in a private college. As part of my job I had to teach Statics and Mechanics of Materials. They now formed a student group to start activities looking to do research and they wanted me as advisor.

Hello guys.
So basically I had to step out of my teaching area, which is Physics, in my job. I taught Statics and Mechanics of Materials to Civil Engineering undergrads. They are well motivated and formed a student group aiming to start learning and conduct research in areas such as
Structural Civil Engineering,
Bridges and
Earthquake Engineering.


Now they want me as one of their advisors. I myself am trying to make a research career for myself but I would like to help them not only in encouraging in general. I am aware that I am not an engineer and they need other advisors, something they already managed to find.

With my Physics background and experience teaching Statics and Mechanics of Materials, can you help me in coming up with ideas as to provide them with projects that could help them find connections with other scholars?

I thought of trying to help them with workshops in specific topics in Physics and Math but maybe I can get some specific topic accessible for me that I can present to them (they want training in research).
Any thoughts or advice I will appreciate, thanks
 
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Perhaps have a look into folded plate structure analysis ##-## bringing to bear your understanding of e.g. multivariable calculus and Fourier transforms ##-## the learning of techniques associated therewith would be helpful to them in many other areas of engineering endeavor . . .
 
  • #3
arestes said:
Summary:: I'm a Physics instructor (no formal Engineering training) in a private college. As part of my job I had to teach Statics and Mechanics of Materials. They now formed a student group to start activities looking to do research and they wanted me as advisor.

but maybe I can get some specific topic accessible for me that I can present to them (they want training in research).
Fun project, thanks for taking that on. Perhaps look at some current events in the news that involve lots of CE content and are a bit sensational to help capture the students' interest. Like:
  • Surfside condo collapse in Florida
  • The leaning of the tall Millennium Tower skyscraper in San Francisco and the efforts to fix it
  • Failures of levees in hurricane Katrina, and how they were re-built to work better with the recent hurricane Ida
 
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  • #4
Some Civils go toward structures, which offer a lot of projects. Others are much more into soils, drainage, ground water flows, etc. which should offer some other project possibilities.

If you want to look at earthquakes, you will need to get yourself and your students well into multi-degree of freedom vibrations and convolution. It is interesting stuff, but not easy to teach (from one who has tried to do it).
 
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One other important aspect for Civil engineers. As a group, they are the most likely to need licensure and should always work on preparing for an NCEES FE exam around the time of their graduation to help them in there employment. Having passed an FE (or sometimes call an EIT) exam will greatly enhance their employment prospects upon graduation.
 
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Related to Advice for students who want to start research in Civil Engineering

1. What skills do I need to have to excel in Civil Engineering research?

To excel in Civil Engineering research, you will need strong analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as a solid understanding of mathematics and physics. Additionally, having good communication and teamwork skills, as well as attention to detail, will also be beneficial.

2. How can I find a research topic in Civil Engineering?

One way to find a research topic in Civil Engineering is to stay up-to-date with current trends and advancements in the field. You can also talk to your professors and colleagues for suggestions, and read research papers to identify any gaps or areas that interest you.

3. What resources are available for Civil Engineering research?

There are many resources available for Civil Engineering research, such as academic journals, online databases, and research funding opportunities. Your university's library and department may also have specific resources and support for research in this field.

4. How can I effectively manage my time while conducting research in Civil Engineering?

Time management is crucial for successful research in Civil Engineering. It is important to create a schedule and set realistic goals, prioritize tasks, and minimize distractions. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your schedule can also help you stay on track.

5. What are some challenges I may face while conducting research in Civil Engineering?

Some challenges you may face while conducting research in Civil Engineering include obtaining funding, dealing with technical difficulties, and managing unexpected setbacks. It is important to stay resilient, seek help when needed, and have a backup plan in case of any challenges.

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