5 Amazing Feats in Engineering you Won’t Believe

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There have been several unbelievable accomplishments throughout the years in terms of construction, architecture and engineering. Transportation Engineering has had some transcendent effects on the economy, and it has bettered human lives in many ways. 

From helping produce get to other countries using railways, roads and aeroplanes to assisting people when they need to get from one place to the next. There have been so many amazing things developed, implemented, built, and invented throughout the years, making humans genuinely incredible. In this article, we will be focusing on some of the monumental engineering achievements of all time.

Millau Viaduct

Building a cable-stayed road-bridge requires a lot of skill from professional architects and builders. The spectacular road-bridge crosses the valley of the river Tarn, near Millau in southern France. The tallest concrete pylon under this bridge is 243.84 meters on its own, which is higher than most buildings. 



The next mind-blowing feature is, of course, the masts, which is another 85.34 meters. Which makes this bridge 341.37 meters in total, from the bottom of the valley to the top of the pylons. They built the decking of the bridge based on the Eiffel Tower. This bridge is exceptionally slender, which can pose as a possible issue as many fear that it will not be stable enough. 

Which means that this bridge has a very daring design, and it is a wonder on its own. Making this bridge had to take guts and a lot of bravery. It is not just about calculations as someone is taking a considerable risk and believing in themselves.

Burj Khalifa

High-rise buildings were traditionally around 457.2 meters tall until recently. And then the Burji Khalifa came about in Dubai, where Adrian Smith decided to stun everyone with this skyscraper winning at 822.96 meters tall. It is built with a buttressed core which is a design where you have a substantial centre section with legs that support it all the way up. 

With a building this high, you have to pay a lot of attention to the known engineering secondary effects. Primary effects introduce gravity and wind, whereas, at a secondary level, you have to consider temperature as well as moisture changes. With this skyscraper being this high, almost anything can become a big problem, and this is where things like calculations come into play as they all have to be done with precision. 

The money in the Middle East pushed things this far, so the possibility of anyone else building a skyscraper this high or higher is relatively low. The Burj Khalifa has brought about a new way to construct with details that are simply incredible. The elevators travel at an unbelievable speed of 64 km/h, whereas standard lifts travel around 19 km/h.

Brunelleschi’s Dome

The construction of this spectacular dome began in 1420 and was completed in 1436. The dome of Florence cathedral in Italy crosses more than 42.67 meters. However, it was built with no supporting framework. Filippo Brunelleschi was the architect and the engineer, and he won the right to complete the dome by stating that he would not need any internal scaffolding, which was unimaginable in that time. 

However, he invented a unique new way of sharing the load around the dome for it, not crack. Filippo Brunelleschi also created chains of stone along with iron bonds to make a tension ring, and used a herringbone brick pattern that secured the dome from cracking. Unfortunately, he had to sacrifice part of the theory when he built the dome, which makes him a great pragmatist. He believed that it was enough to spread the load in the right places, and it worked.

Dutch Delta Works

In 1953, a significant flood killed about 1,800 people in Holland, after that authorities realised that a sea defence had to be built. They understood that they had to block certain waters leading into Antwerp and Rotterdam. The underlying theory was quite simple and was created to minimise the exposure of the dykes to the sea. 

And the execution process was terrific as the scale of it was enormous, and the whole coastline had to change. The sea defence is designed for a one in 10,000-year flood in the Odense area, which is the third-largest city in Denmark. The only comparable construction is the Thames Barrier which is designed for a one in a 1,000-year surge.

Bazalgette’s London Sewers

Sir Joseph Bazalgette was chief engineer of London’s Metropolitan Board of Works in the 1850s, which was when sewerage problems led to the Great Stink; and cholera was widespread. His solution to this dilemma was to build 133.576 km of main sewers, 1770.278 miles of street sewers and then 20921.472 km of smaller sewers, which were all built underground. 

Another fabulous thing that he did was he decided that whatever calculations were made for the flow of sewage, would then have to be doubled, for the future, if he had not done that, then we would have had the same problem again.

And Bonus: The Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia is situated in Istanbul, Turkey. This bold and magnificent Mosque changed the history of architecture as well as improving the way in which people perceived space. The Hagia Sophia was the most important place of worship for almost over 1,000 years, until Seville Cathedral, which was built in 1520, and it created the concept of indirect load transfer.  

Mimar Sinan, Anthemius, Isidore were the architects of the Hagia Sophia had the guts to state that the dome does not have to come straight down to the ground. Instead, they created the dome to shift out in a scallop shape into more vaults, which was a massive architectural evolution, and daring beyond belief.

In the End

With these types of magnificent buildings, it is the conception that matters, not the calculation, because they did not know all the theories and predictions that we know now. Estimates are seen as a red herring in engineering, the thing that is most important is having an architectural understanding of space.

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Marie Foster
Marie Foster is a reporter based in UK. Marie has also worked as a columnist for the various news sites.

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