Further Maths for Civil Engineering

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chiefkeeff
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I was wondering what topics from Further Maths would be helpful for Civil Engineering at uni. I just did my A-Levels and was hoping to maybe teach myself a little bit of the harder maths topics that I might come across in first year.

Does anyone currently doing civil engineering know the names of any topics that would be helpful for me to learn before going to uni? Cheers
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jakearms18
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I did a Physics degree, so I'm not the most qualified person to answer this, but some of my modules I believe would also be covered in Civil Engineering, such as Fluid Dynamics, Elasticity and Dynamics.

I don't know how much you've covered in your Maths units so far, but some of the topics I'd suggest are as follows:

1. Vectors: Especially things like dot and cross products, as these are useful for working out the directions of forces, torques etc..
2. Matrices: These appear a lot in fluid dynamics and elasticity in materials who's properties are anisotropic (different in diffent directions - for example: it may be harder to pull a certain material in one direction than another). Dealing with problems with these requires matrices to represent quantities, such as Young's Modulus in each direction. Being able to manipulate matrices and find their eigenvalues/eigenvectors will give you a head start!
3. Differential Equations: These will come up a lot in things like oscillatory motion and other things involving change. Being good at solving first and second order ODEs will definitely serve you well. If you're interested, you may want to have a look at Partial Differentiation: finding partial derivatives isn't any harder than finding the total derivative and it will crop-up a lot when you start to cover topics, such as vector calculus (divergence, curl etc.) in your undergrad.
4. Series: e.g. Taylor Series etc will be invaluable. When you get to university, you will find there are a lot of important differential equations that cannot be solved exactly using analytical methods. In these cases, we have to approximate the solution using a series. A good example of this is the equation of motion of a swinging pendulum.

A Civil Engineering student will probably have a better idea of exactly what you are likely to encounter, but this is my two cents worth..

Enjoy uni!
Jake
Last edited by jakearms18; 1 month ago
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Smack
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(Original post by chiefkeeff)
I was wondering what topics from Further Maths would be helpful for Civil Engineering at uni. I just did my A-Levels and was hoping to maybe teach myself a little bit of the harder maths topics that I might come across in first year.

Does anyone currently doing civil engineering know the names of any topics that would be helpful for me to learn before going to uni? Cheers
If you're hoping to give yourself a head-start, you'd be better off studying the specific engineering maths syllabus rather than revisiting A-levels. Books such as Engineering Mathematics and Advanced Engineering Mathematics by K.A. Stroud are very commonly recommended, and these days there are likely to be plenty of good YouTube videos covering it too. You may be able to contact the university for specific topics, but it'll be things like calculus, trigonometry, vectors, matrices, etc.
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chiefkeeff
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(Original post by Smack)
If you're hoping to give yourself a head-start, you'd be better off studying the specific engineering maths syllabus rather than revisiting A-levels. Books such as Engineering Mathematics and Advanced Engineering Mathematics by K.A. Stroud are very commonly recommended, and these days there are likely to be plenty of good YouTube videos covering it too. You may be able to contact the university for specific topics, but it'll be things like calculus, trigonometry, vectors, matrices, etc.
thank you so much, I'll try contacting the uni for sure and start having a look at the book you recommended!
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chiefkeeff
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(Original post by jakearms18)
I did a Physics degree, so I'm not the most qualified person to answer this, but some of my modules I believe would also be covered in Civil Engineering, such as Fluid Dynamics, Elasticity and Dynamics.

I don't know how much you've covered in your Maths units so far, but some of the topics I'd suggest are as follows:

1. Vectors: Especially things like dot and cross products, as these are useful for working out the directions of forces, torques etc..
2. Matrices: These appear a lot in fluid dynamics and elasticity in materials who's properties are anisotropic (different in diffent directions - for example: it may be harder to pull a certain material in one direction than another). Dealing with problems with these requires matrices to represent quantities, such as Young's Modulus in each direction. Being able to manipulate matrices and find their eigenvalues/eigenvectors will give you a head start!
3. Differential Equations: These will come up a lot in things like oscillatory motion and other things involving change. Being good at solving first and second order ODEs will definitely serve you well. If you're interested, you may want to have a look at Partial Differentiation: finding partial derivatives isn't any harder than finding the total derivative and it will crop-up a lot when you start to cover topics, such as vector calculus (divergence, curl etc.) in your undergrad.
4. Series: e.g. Taylor Series etc will be invaluable. When you get to university, you will find there are a lot of important differential equations that cannot be solved exactly using analytical methods. In these cases, we have to approximate the solution using a series. A good example of this is the equation of motion of a swinging pendulum.

A Civil Engineering student will probably have a better idea of exactly what you are likely to encounter, but this is my two cents worth..

Enjoy uni!
Jake
thank you Jake! I have never heard of most of these topics so I will make sure to try and understand as many of them as possible!
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aadil10
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Hi, I'm a graduate civil engineer. I don't recall doing much of what I learnt at A level during my degree. The mathematics/modelling modules definitely had a lot of differential equations in, and we did a little bit of dynamics to model vibrations/damping etc, but that's about it. Most of what you learn will be new concepts, so if you wanted to get a head start maybe look at videos explaining simple beams with different support types (fixed, pinned, roller), static indeterminacy of beams, and calculating bending moment and shear force (inc. diagams) for a beam with a point load/distributed load. You could also just get some background knowledge on engineering materials, particularly steel and concrete, and how basic structures work with beams, columns and slabs.

Those are all 1st year concepts which will help you throughout your degree, I wouldn't really delve much more into it than that before you start.

Best of luck with your degree!
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