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Top 5 Civil Engineering Books for Beginners

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

What is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering is everything you see that’s been built around us.

It’s about roads and railways, schools, offices, hospitals, water and power supply and much more. The kinds of things we take for granted but would find life very hard to live without.

What do civil engineers do?

Civil engineers design, create and connect up the world around us. They help make our villages, towns and cities work for the people that live there. Combining their theoretical and practical knowledge of engineering, these highly specialised experts have to master the planning, budgeting, management, and analysis of projects large and small.


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Source: ICE, UCAS


5. Mechanics of Materials, James M.Gere

Key features 🗜

  • Main Topics: Basic Engineering of Structures. 🏗🏢

  • Content Summary: Torsion, Analysis of Stress and Strain, Stresses/Deflections in Beams, Columns, Statically indeterminate Beams...

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This book is ideal for 1st-year civil engineering university students. This book covers the analysis and design of structural members subjected to tension, compression, torsion, and bending, including the fundamental concepts of structural engineering.

Specialized topics include thermal effects, dynamic loading, non-prismatic members, beams of two materials, shear centers, pressure vessels, and statically indeterminate beams.

Numerous examples are present throughout the book in order to illustrate the theoretical concepts and show how those concepts may be used in practical situations.

4. Mechanics of Fluids, Bernard Massey

Key features 🌊

  • Main Topics: Fundamental Knowledge of Fluid Mechanics.

  • Content Summary: Viscosity, Bernoulli's equation, Fluids in Motion, Flow with a Free Surface, Laminar Flow, The Momentum Equation...

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"It is a book for engineers rather than mathematicians"

The book introduces the basic principles of fluid mechanics in a detailed and clear manner. This bestselling textbook provides the sound physical understanding of fluid flow that is essential for an honours degree course in civil or mechanical engineering as well as courses in aeronautical and chemical engineering.

Focusing on the engineering applications of fluid flow, rather than mathematical techniques, students are gradually introduced to the subject, with the text moving from the simple to the complex, and from the familiar to the unfamiliar. SI units are used throughout and there are many worked examples.

3. Soil Mechanics, Graham Barnes

Key features

  • Main Topics: Fundamental Knowledge of Soil Mechanics

  • Content Summary: Soil Formation and nature, Permeability and seepage, Pile foundations, Earthworks, and soil compaction, Site investigation

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This book is intended to support the main courses for undergraduate civil and ground engineering students. It provides the basic principles of the subject and illustrates how, why, and with what limitations these principles can be applied in practice.

The book's aim is to provide:

  • an understanding of the nature of the soil.

  • an appreciation of soil behaviour.

  • a concise and clear presentation of the basic principles of soil mechanics.

  • awareness of the applications of geotechnical engineering problems.


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2. Structural Analysis, R. C. Hibbeler

Key features 🔩

  • Main Topics: Structural Analysis theorems of trusses, beams, and frames.

  • Content Summary: Deflections Using Energy Methods/Slope-Deflection Equations, Statically Indeterminate Structures...

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In this book, the emphasis is given on developing the student's ability to both model and analyse a structure and to provide realistic applications encountered in professional practice.

This book goes beyond theory and steps into the information age by specially developing animations that breathe new life into classical concepts.

Preliminary aspects of structural analysis are discussed as well some basic types of structures, there components and supports are addressed.

1. Structures OR WHY THINGS DONT FALL DOWN, J. E. Gordon

Key features 🌉🏢

  • Main Topics: General understanding of Structures

  • Content Summary: Compression and bending structures, Tension structures, The difficult birth of the science of elasticity.

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This book is ideal for someone that is considering studying civil engineering. The book provides a fundamental understanding of basic concepts and explains the history behind the complex formulas used in solid mechanics.

It is for anyone who has wondered why suspension bridges don't collapse under eight lanes of traffic, how dams hold back thousands of gallons of water, or what principles guide the design of skyscraper.

Suggested by Elon Musk: When Musk started SpaceX, he was coming from a coding background. But he took it upon himself to learn the fundamentals of rocket science.

"It is really, really good if you want a primer on structural design," Musk said in an interview with KCRW, a Southern California radio station.


Read Also: The difference between Buckling, Compression & Shear

  • Column history goes back to the Ancient Egyptians where stoned columns were first constructed.

  • Three main failure mode of concrete columns are Buckling, Pure Compression and Shear.


1 Yorum

tang ja
tang ja
12 Şub 2023

Great instruction for some engineer who want to be structural engineer. At the same time, after it had been finished for digestion then which books are the second ones to read more step by step.

Thank you so much

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