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Sir Alan Muir Wood’s final paper published by ICE

A paper written by eminent civil engineer Sir Alan Muir Wood, who died last month, will appear in the latest issue of the ICE’s Civil Engineering journal.

In it, he urges the profession to refer to the work of experts, especially when designing or assessing masonry structures.

The paper says: "Recent examples of inappropriate analysis of masonry structures, leading to their unnecessary designation as unsafe, suggest modern engineers could benefit from a wider appreciation of elementary principles. The 1820s’ procedure of Thomas Young – perhaps best remembered for his modulus of elasticity – is a good place to start."

The paper also sets out the principles of Young’s approach to civil engineering, which was considered visionary. It also explains how this approach was adopted and developed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for his recordbreaking Maidenhead Bridge over the Thames. He also speculates that Brunel’s father Marc Isambard Brunel may have further developed Young’s method for assessing his masonry design for the Thames Tunnel in London.

Muir Wood was closely involved with the campaign to prevent London Underground shotcreting the tunnel’s original brickwork lining in the mid-1990s. He was former senior partner of Halcrow and past ICE president.

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