Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!
  • Students Click Here

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here


structural definition

structural definition

structural definition

what is the difference between structural design and structural analysis

RE: structural definition


Is this official terminology or just semantics. If you are doing structural design, you probably are doing analysis. Someone else can design something, and you can step in and analyze the thing for structural safety. A structural engineer is a civil engineer who specializes in structures.


RE: structural definition

"design" is done by "CAD monkeys", ie focused on the physical shape of the design.

"analysis" is done by analysts focused on the strength/analytical properties of the design.

of course they work very closely together.

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: structural definition

Analysis is done to find out what you are dealing with - what is there.

Design is what you do to make what you analyzed work.

The original structure was designed. Retrofits and remodels are analyzed, then designed.

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

RE: structural definition

Agree with Mike,

In analysis we are seeking to understand the theoretical response of structures to applied loads or conditions.
Setting up a beam span with given loads and determining the shears, moments, and deflections of a member. Or modeling a building frame in a computer model and applying loads to it to get the shears, moments, axial forces, etc.

In design we are taking that analysis and finding a solution, or design, that provides a required level of safety or performance.
With a solved model, or hand analysis of a member, determine the required beam size, reinforcing, etc. that would provide a safe structure.

Check out Eng-Tips Forum's Policies here:
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: structural definition

Structural analysis gives you the basic requirements, anticipated loads, etc. The structural design can accommodate the loads in various ways. Maybe one way is cheaper. For example, when I was doing design, I was told to stay away from tube shapes because you had to purchase the steel in certain lengths which resulted in waste (and extra cost). Architects always want tubes. WF sections are purchased at length.

There are also constructibility issues to consider as a designer. The way I think of the difference is the Engineer/analyzer says, "here is what you need to do. You figure out how to do it." And it's the designer's job to figure out how to make it happen keeping all parties happy.

If you are offended by the things I say, imagine the stuff I hold back.

RE: structural definition


I used to work with a guy who specified aluminium extrusions as his material. Perhaps it would be 1"×2"×1/4" angle. He would specify the extrusion number. The part would be perhaps an inch and a half long for a one-off piece.


RE: structural definition


A structural engineer is a civil engineer who specializes in structures.

Fixed it for ya!

The SE title is also often used by MEs doing what else - structural design of autos, aircraft, etc. We tend to take the niche a bit more in-depth however, analyzing stress and fatigue to very narrow margins using FEA.

RE: structural definition

Back in the late 80's/early 90's my employer had three distinct functions and teams for them:

Design. They drew pictures.
Design analysis. They did applied maths on paper.
Structural analysis. They did FEA with computers.

Names stick.


Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!


White Paper: Industrial Control Basics: Contactors
A contactor is an electrical device used for switching an electrical circuit on or off. Considered to be a special type of relay, contactors are used in applications with higher current carrying capacity, while relays are used for lower current applications. Download Now
Research Report: State of IoT Adoption in Product Development 2019
This research report, based on a survey of 234 product development professionals, examines the current state of Internet of Things (IoT) adoption by product design teams, its perceived importance, and what features and capabilities teams consider important when making decision about adding IoT functionality to their products. Download Now
Research Report: Augmented Reality for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO)
The term Industry 4.0 denotes a cluster of technologies that’s poised to fundamentally reshape manufacturing and bring about a new industrial revolution. These include 3D printing (AM), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and mixed reality technologies, more commonly known as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close