EWEEK PROBLEM OF THE DAY: TUESDAY

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Structural engineering is a sub-field of civil engineering in which structures like bridges, buildings and even things like concert stages are designed and analyzed. Structural engineers must consider environmental factors, what a structure will be used for and what type of weight will be put on it, and how this all might change from day to day before even beginning a design. Their work keeps us safe in and around all types of man-made structures.

When designing a bridge, there are two main structural pieces: beams and columns. The size of the columns and beams is determined by the loads (or types and amount of weight) that the bridge will support, as well as natural forces that may be applied. For example, a bridge that will support trains and cars will require much larger beams and columns than a bridge that supports pedestrians and bicycles. A bridge in a location that experiences tornadoes will have different specifications than a bridge in a location that experiences heavy snow or earthquakes.

2.1 The figure shows the cross-section of a bridge column. As the dashed lines show, this cross-section is composed of 5 congruent squares of side length 8 inches and 4 congruent quarter circles. What is the cross-sectional area of this bridge column? Express your answer to the nearest whole number.