Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In civil engineering, a design choice is a possible solution to a problem. Given a situation and a set of criteria (design specifications), a concept of how to meet those requirements is drafted. Each of these preliminary possibilities is in reality a design choice. Often these choices never leave the preliminary conceptual phase, but those that mature to the point where they could actually be applied become the design choices from which the final selection must be made. Design choices stem from the basic principle that there is usually no one right way of accomplishing any task. The final selection of a design choice is usually made on a basis of finances; ie: the least expensive design is chosen in a bid process.
Individual design choices generally come from basic principles of materials science and structural design. A suspension bridge for example uses the fact that steel is extremely efficient in tension, while a prestressed concrete bridge takes advantage of concrete's relatively low cost by weight and its ability to sustain high compressive loading (see compression).
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