Water resources engineering is the quantitative study of the hydrologic cycle -- the distribution and circulation of water linking the earth's atmosphere, land and oceans. Surface runoff is measured as the difference between precipitation and abstractions, such as infiltration (which replenishes groundwater flow), surface storage and evaporation. Applications include the management of the urban water supply, the design of urban storm-sewer systems, and flood forecasting. Hydraulic engineering consists of the application of fluid mechanics to
Geotechnical engineering is the study of the behaviour of soils under the influence of loading forces and soil-water interactions. This knowledge is applied to the design of foundations, retaining walls, earth dams, clay liners, and geosynthetics for waste containment. The goals of geotechnical engineers could range from the design of foundations and temporary excavation support, through route selection for railways and highways, to the increasingly important areas of landfill disposal of wastes and groundwater contamination. As such, the
Structural engineers are concerned with the conception, analysis, design and construction of components or assemblies to resist loads arising from internal and external forces. Solid mechanics is the study of the distribution of stresses that a given load produces when applied to a solid element, and the calculation of the resulting strains, given the characteristics of the materials that make up that element. The application of solid mechanics enables the structural engineer to assemble elements, such as beams and columns, into a structure that will
The research activities of this group may be divided into two broad categories: experimental (laboratory and field-related) projects and numerical modelling.
The goal of environmental engineering is to ensure that societal development and the use of water, land and air resources are sustainable. This goal is achieved by managing these resources so that environmental pollution and degradation is minimized.
Transportation has always played an essential role in the development of society, originally with regard to trade routes and harbours, but more recently with regard to land- and air-based systems as well. It is the transportation engineer's responsibility to plan, design, build, operate and maintain these systems of transport, in such a way as to provide for the safe, efficient and convenient movement of people and goods. Increasing environmental concerns have revived an interest in the development and management of public
Research activities in geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering range from studies of the basic physics and chemistry of soil behaviour to applied field problems. The soil mechanics laboratories are equipped with the conventional permeability, direct shear, consolidation and triaxial systems necessary to determine the engineering properties of the materials under study.
Although the Department is not divided formally into sections, the fields of study and research can be grouped into four main areas: environmental engineering and water resources management, fluid mechanics and hydraulic engineering, geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, as well as structural engineering and construction materials. Selected courses are also available in the area of transportation engineering. Descriptions of the topics of research and facilities in the four major areas are presented under each section:
Considerable freedom exists for students to influence the nature of their program of study in the civil engineering program. All principal subjects of civil engineering are taught at McGill University but students may choose to concentrate in any one of the following areas through the selection of suitable complementary courses: