5 Books on Every Engineer’s Desk
Engineers like books. Having your own private desk-library is a given for any consultant; usually stocked with tomes artificially thickened with the detritus of cryptic post-it notes, and folded-in print-outs.
Despite their Times best-seller status Civil Engineering books never seem to make the Tesco lost-leader list, and developing a collection can get expensive. So to help new students and graduates out, here are the top five books I’d expect to find on another engineer’s desk… (no advertising commission though!)
Structural Engineer’s Pocket Book
F. Cobb, Butterworth-Heinemann [Amazon]
Harking back to an older (and better…) time where tables where the principle mechanism of design; this book for big pockets collects together most of the useful facts, figures and generics of structural engineering. What else would you reach for when you wanted to know the structural area of an M20 bolt, the maximum bending moment of a fixed beam and a quick outline of timber design?
Craig’s Soil Mechanics
R.F. Craig, Spon Press [Amazon]
Perhaps a bit controversial, as I know most people who went to Southampton university will prefer Powries, but when it comes to Soil Mechanics it’s hard to do better than Craig’s. In-depth enough to tell you what you need, but accessible enough to flick-through without a Masters in Geotechnics; and forever up-to-date (as it nears it’s first double-figure edition).
Bridge Deck Behaviour
E. Hambly, John Wiley & Sons [Amazon]
Like it or lump it- Grillages are here to stay, and it seems (despite being dead these last 18 years) Hambly still has the last word. Covering all of the major bridge types, and with enough theory to give insight without being drier than a cinnamon challenge- it’s easy to see why Hambly remains the definitive authority for grillage design (even if I think FEA is better!)
Foundation Design and Construction
M.J. Tomlinson, Prentice Hall [Amazon]
While Craig’s provides a reference for anything that’ll get your hi-vis dirty- Tomlinson really shines when it comes to foundation design. His litany of each (and seemingly every) foundation type provides enough information to get on and design the for most common structures.
Various- although most can be found at the [BSI Shop]
Although guaranteed to tell you just enough to know you’ve got to learn more- the ‘Concise Guides’ appearing for the Eurocodes provide a great base to get something done before you drown in sub-scripted multi-referenced ignorance.
For anyone looking for a single ‘Concise Guide to all the damn Eurocodes,’ the Structural Elements Design Manual by DrayCott and Bullman (Pub. Butterworth-Heinemann) [Amazon] is probably the closest I’ve found to something usable enough to be complete, without being long enough to require lifting assessments.
After writing this I realised that what you’d expect to find on a British engineer’s desk is unlikely to make it round the world- so why not share where you’re from and what books you’d expect to find on another engineer’s desk?