Student Review: Introduction to Structural Aluminium Design

November 3, 2011

Author: Ulrich Muller

Edition: First

Publisher: Whittles

Pages: 192

Price: £40.00

ISBN 9781849950077

The structure of a building is the part responsible for maintaining the shape under the influence of the force, load and other environmental factors. It is essential to ensure that the structure does not fall down, break or deform to an unacceptable degree when subjected to such forces or loads. Accordingly, the study of structure involves the analysis of the forces and stresses occurring within it and the design of suitable components to cater for those.

Typical structural components in buildings include steel beams, columns and roof trusses; reinforced concrete beams, columns and slabs; timber joists and columns; and masonry walls and columns. Like most civil engineering students, I have studied these components. But this book, which I used as part of my studies last year, was my first exposure to structural aluminium design. While structural steel, concrete, timber and masonry are widely known and used in the engineering community, structural aluminium elements are used much less frequently.

Ulrich Muller's book effectively highlights the properties and application of aluminium, giving information about the material itself, as well as its fabrication, structural design and corrosion potential. The book also considers aluminium's properties, such as prises, recycling, resistance and weight, and compares it with those of other commonly used materials, and especially steel, which is the structural material used most often in modern construction. Additionally, the book considers design standards such as the British Standard and Eurocode.

The book is well designed and organised. It allows the reader to consider how aluminium might be improved structurally to be used more widely in future, in order to save money and meet not only structural requirements but also safety and serviceability.

As an aside, students who are less strong in mathematical skills may find some chapters of the book less enjoyable than others.

In considering this book I am reminded of one by Philip Garrison, Basic Structures for Engineers and Architects, which I used in my first-year studies. It offered an excellent explanation of terms used by structural engineers, as well as considering how structures behave in terms of forces, mass, weight and loading. A textbook that combined the information presented in these two books on the structural design of various materials would be even more valuable to students.

Who is it for? Undergraduates and postgraduates, primarily in structural design and structural engineering.

Presentation: Excellent and well organised.

Would you recommend it? I would definitely recommend it to anyone studying structures, structural design or analysis at any level.

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