In performing engineering calculations, there are often times when you have to interpolate between values to get an answer to use in an equation. We know that similar triangles can be used to find that intermediate value, but how can we automate the process?

In Excel, the Trend function works well when you are trying to identify a number along a straight line. As long as you have your known X and Y values, and the new X value, you can easily determine the new Y value.

The format for the Trend Function is: =TREND(Known_y’s,Known_x’s,New_x)

As an example, when determining the seismic base shear, the Fa value must be calculated. This value is found through Table 1613.3.3(1) in IBC 2012, and is based on the site category, along with the Short Period Acceleration. If your Acceleration does not match one of the table values, then you need to interpolate between the adjacent values in order to determine Fa. The Trend function can be used to do this directly by using the Ss values bounding the actual value, and the corresponding bounding Fa values based on the Site Class.

Example in Excel for using the Trend Function to Calculate Fa for Seismic Load

he formula as written in cell C5 is: =TREND(G5:H5,G4:H4,C3)


SE Solutions was pleased to recently present scholarships to two Purdue MSCE-Structures students to help defray the cost of their education. Joseph (Joey) Jones, EIT and Raymond (Ray) Chou, EIT were the recipients of the awards. This is the second year that SE Solutions has offered the scholarships.

Purdue University Scholarship Winners

Purdue University MSCE Students and Scholarship Winners Joey Jones (left) and Ray Chou (middle), with SE Solutions, LLC President Brian Quinn

Ray received his BSCE from Purdue and will be finishing his MSCE this December (2013). He is interested in finding a position in structural engineering in the Midwest after graduating. Ray is from New London, Missouri. For additional background on Ray, please see his Linkedin profile at

Joey received his BSCE from the University of Washington and will be finishing his MSCE this December (2013). He is interested in finding a position in structural engineering in the Northwest after graduating. Joey is from Ellensburg, Washington. For additional background on Joey, please see his Linkedin profile at

The rising costs of education and the decrease in funding available through teaching and research assistantships has made it increasingly challenging for students to afford higher education and advanced degrees. SE Solutions is happy to contribute in a small way to help Ray and Joey meet their educational goals, and we look forward to seeing them enhance the structural engineering profession.

SE Solutions hopes to continue providing scholarships to structural engineering students in the future.


As I was trying to decide what to discuss for this month’s article, I thought a short quote I have posted in my office would be appropriate. This comes from Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Dale said he cut this saying out and pasted it on his mirror where he would see it every day. (The author of the quote is not listed.)

“I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

This is a fairly easy saying to “agree” with, but yet another thing to live it out every day. However, I think pasting it to a mirror or having it somewhere visible where you can see it at the beginning of each day and reflect on it at the end of the day is helpful.

As always, if there is any way we can assist you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Best wishes to everyone for a healthy and happy October!

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