Most Asked Civil Engineering Interview Questions

What is civil engineering?

Civil engineering is a professional discipline of engineering that works in the field of the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including public works such as roads, canals, bridges, dams, airports, sewerage systems, pipelines, structural components of buildings, and railways etc.

Which are the different sub-disciplines of civil engineering?

Civil engineering is considered the second-oldest engineering discipline after military engineering. It is traditionally categorized into several sub-disciplines such as following:

  • Coastal engineering
  • Construction engineering
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Forensic engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Materials science and engineering
  • Site development and planning
  • Structural engineering
  • Transportation engineering
  • Municipal or urban engineering
  • Water resources engineering etc.

Who is known as the father of civil engineering?

George John Smeaton is known as the father of civil engineering. In the era of the industrial revolution in England, civil engineering emerged as one of the most prominent engineering disciplines because of many scientific inventions.

How should I introduce myself in civil engineering interview?

You should follow the tips given below for going to a civil engineering interview.

  • Go to the interview room with a smile on your face.
  • After greeting the interview panel, give details about your name and place. Tell about your family details only if you asked so.
  • Tell about your educational details.
  • Explain why you want to do this job and about your project in brief.
  • Tell about the person who inspired you the most.
  • Tell about your interests/hobbies. You can also tell how you spend your time when you are free.
  • Tell about your skills and explain why you are best for this job.
  • Thanks to the interview panel.

What is Cement, and what are the different types of cement?

Cement is a fine gray powder mixed with water and other substances to make mortar or concrete. This is one of the most important building materials used in both residential and commercial construction work.

There are many cement types such as Portland cement, high alumina cement, white cement, sulfate resisting cement etc. But, generally, cement can be categorized into the mainly following two types:

  • Ordinary Portland cement: This is available in 33, 43 & 53 grades.
  • Blended cement: This is available as PPC or slag cement.

What is the role of cement in construction?

In any construction, we have to use sand, bricks, jelly, water, steel and many other raw materials. Cement is used to bind these elements together to provide strength and durability to the construction.

Which is the best cement for house construction?

There are many types of cement used in house construction. Cement is mainly classified according to their grades. The cement grades determine the compression strength (Mpa) of the concrete that will attain after 28 days of setting.

There are about 13 types of cement used for construction purposes. These cement are:

  • Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC)
  • Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC)
  • Rapid Hardening Cement
  • Quick setting cement
  • Low Heat Cement
  • Sulfates resisting cement
  • Blast Furnace Slag Cement
  • High Alumina Cement
  • White Cement
  • Colored cement
  • Air Entraining Cement
  • Expansive cement
  • Hydrographic cement

For house construction purpose, the following five types of cement are mainly used:

  • Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) 43 Grade Cement: This cement is mainly used for wall plastering works, Non-RCC structures, pathways etc. It gets a compression strength of 43 Mpa (megapascals) in 28 days of setting.
  • Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), 53 Grade Cement: This cement is mainly used in RCC and pre-stressed concrete of higher grades, cement grouts, instant plugging mortars etc. This cement is best for fast-paced construction, where the initial strength is to be achieved quickly. It gets a compression strength of 53 Mpa (megapascals) in 28 days of setting. It attains 27 Mpa in 7days compared to 23 Mpa by 43-grade cement.
  • Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC): This cement has a higher degree of fineness, impermeable and corrosion-resistant quality that makes the concrete denser in large structures. The initial setting time of this cement is low, but it gains more strength with time. It is used in mass concreting work as well as RCC work.
  • Portland Slag Cement (PSC): This type of cement is preferred over OPC grade in constructions where the structures are more liable to sulfate and chloride attack. This has an excellent corrosion resistance quality, particularly from saltwater so, it is widely used in coastal regions, sewage disposal, and water treatment plants.
  • White Cement: This cement is mainly used in decorative designs. It is also used to fill gaps in wall tiles, ceramic bathroom fixtures. The manufacturing process of white cement is different and more complicated when compared to ordinary Portland cement. This is costly than other cement.

What is the meaning of grade in cement?

A grade is a number used to indicate the minimum compressive strength gained by the cement-sand mortar mix in 28 days of time. For example, OPC 43 grade cement, OPC 53 grade cement etc. The maximum number of grades shows the cement’s maximum compression strength after the 28 days of setting.

What is the chemical composition of the Portland cement?

There are four main compounds in Portland cement. They are:

  • Tricalcium Silicate (3CaO · SiO2)
  • Dicalcium Silicate (2CaO · SiO2)
  • Tricalcium Aluminate (3CaO · Al2O3)
  • Tetra-calcium Aluminoferrite (4CaO · Al2O3Fe2 O3)

What is the blended cement, and what are the advantages of using blended cement?

Blended cement is obtained by mixing OPC (Ordinary Portland cement) with mineral admixtures or additives like fly ash, slag or silica fumes. These mineral admixtures make the blended cement superior as compared to the conventional OPC category of cement.

The advantages of using blended cement can be categorized into two types:

  • Technical advantages
  • Environmental advantages

Technical Advantages of using Blended Cement

  • Blended cement is smoother than Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). It provides a finer texture than OPC when mixed.
  • It provides more strength than OPC because fly ash and slag cement are significantly stronger than OPC after full setting (more than 28 days) in compressive and flexural stress. It depends on the proportion and quality of the admixture. Silica fume cement sets in even less time, usually 3 to 28 days.
  • The permeability is lower in blended cement. It extends its useful life and hardness by reducing the penetration of aggressive water run-off compounds such as sulfates and chlorides, which have increased impact as ordinary cement ages. Silica fume cement allows only 20 percent of the permeability of OPC.
  • When we use OPC, if the temperature differences between the concrete surface and its interior are high, it may get weaker, and cracking can occur. So, OPC is not a good choice for the areas where temperatures fall below 40 degrees. Blended cement can reduce peak temperatures and reduce the risk of thermal stress.

Environmental Advantages of using Blended Cement

  • Blended cement requires less water in construction.
  • Blended cement saves energy because it uses admixtures such as slag, fly ash, which is produced as a byproduct of other industrial processes.
  • Blended cement is a good example of the conservation of resources. It uses waste products of steel plants and coal power plants, among others. Using this waste in cement lowers the demand for other components like limestone, silica, and clay, helping to preserve these natural resources.

What is the requirement of curves on the road? What are the different types of curves?

Curves are very important in road design. Civil engineers know how to use the right equations to design a road with each of these curves. It is very important to calculate the exact degree of the slope the road needs to be in the curve to keep cars from sliding off the road. There are mainly four types of road curves:

  • A simple road curve
  • Compound road curve
  • Reverse road curve
  • Deviation road curve

What is concrete?

Concrete is a mixture of cement, sand, stone aggregates (jelly) and water. The proportions of the ingredients are mixed according to the type of construction.

What is compacting, and why is it used?

Compacting is the process of making the cement mixture denser by releasing the air from it. When we mix various materials, there will be air which is entrapped between them. We have to remove these air bubbles to make concrete impervious and attain maximum strength. Otherwise, there will be voids in the concrete, which reduce the strength substantially.

What is the best way of compacting?

In small construction works, generally, steel rods or paddling sticks are used for compacting, but mechanical vibrators are best for this task. Any compacting device has to reach the bottom of the form and should be small enough to pass between reinforcement rods.

What do you understand by reinforced concrete?

Reinforced concrete is a form of concrete where we use steel bars or mesh along with cement, sand, stone aggregates and water to give extra strength to the construction.

What are the main responsibilities of a construction manager?

A construction manager has to face the following responsibilities:

  • Estimate the total cost of the project.
  • Purchase of selected materials.
  • Cost control of construction.
  • Supervision of the construction.
  • Selection of bidders for bidding phase.
  • Analysis of proposals.
  • Construction contract negotiations.
  • Construction Scheduling and Monitoring.

What are the potential risk factors a worker can face on the construction site?

There are many potential risk factors a worker can face on the construction site, such as fall from heights, electric shock, scaffold and trench collapse, injuries due to not using personal protective equipment correctly, repetitive motion injuries etc.

What is the unit weight of concrete?

The unit weight of concrete can vary depending on the type of aggregates and the number of voids. According to the IS, the unit weight of concrete is 2406.53 kg/m3 or 25KN/m3, and the unit weight of RCC is 2500 kg/m3 or 25KN/m3.

What is the unit weight of steel?

The unit weight of steel is 7850 Kg/m3. It is also known as the density of steel.

What do you understand by ductility?

Ductility is the ability to deform under tensile stress.

How can you describe the projection line is the construction?

We can describe the projection line in the same way as we display the earth on a flat piece of paper.

What are the various steps involved in the concreting process?

The main steps involved in the concreting process are as follows:

  • Batching
  • Mixing
  • Transporting and placement of concrete
  • Compacting

What are the reinforcements that are used in the process of prestressing?

There are mainly three types of reinforcements used in the prestressing process. They are:

  • Spalling Reinforcements.
  • Equilibrium Reinforcements.
  • Bursting Reinforcements.

How can you find the weight of the steel bar used in reinforcement?

We can find the weight of the steel bar used in reinforcement by using the following formula:

Weight of Bar in kg/m = Dsquare/162.2

Here, D is the diameter of the bar in mm.

What is a flat slab?

The slab which is supported on columns is only called a flat slab. The flat slab doesn’t have any beams.

What is the difference between a one-way slab and a two-way slab?

If the longer span ratio is more than two times of shorter span, it is known as the one-way slab.

One way slab: Ratio of Longer Span / Shorter span > 2

If the longer span ratio is less than or equal to two times of shorter span, it is known as the two-way slab.

Two way slab: Ratio of Longer span/ shorter span <= 2

What is the soundness of cement?

The soundness of cement is a property that ensures that the cement does not go through any appreciable expansion or experience any change in volume once it has been set. This process is used to avoid any possibilities of the mortar or concrete from getting disrupted.

What is fatigue in construction? Give some examples of structures that may be subjected to fatigue?

Fatigue is a process of gradual damage to a structure that occurs when subjected to cyclic loading (repetitive loading and unloading process). Following are some example of structures that may be subjected to fatigue:

  • Heavily loaded bridges
  • Hydraulic Presses
  • Aircrafts
  • Concrete Reservoirs
  • Pylons
  • Turbines
  • Overhead cranes
  • Transmission towers
  • Offshore platforms
  • Burners, trains etc.

What are the different types of slump test indications?

A slump test is used to check the quality of the concrete mixture. It measures the consistency of the fresh concrete before it sets. It is also used to check if the batch of concrete is properly mixed or not. There are three different types of slumps that are used in slump testing:

  • True Slump
  • Shear Slump
  • Collapse Slump

What is built-up area and super built-up area?

The built-up area consists of the carpet area and space occupied by walls, pillars, and ducts. In most cases, the built-up area is considered as 10% more of the carpet area.

The super built-up area includes the built-up area and any areas that are used by building amenities such as life passages, lobby, stairs, gym, clubhouse, etc.

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