Physics-Bridge Project Essay

Topics: Bridge, Bridges, Cable-stayed bridge Pages: 6 (2242 words) Published: November 14, 2012
Humans have tamed steel, stone, lumber, and even living vegetation, all in effort to reach the people, places, and things that we desire. Although the concept of bridges is as simple as a tree falling across a creek, bridge design and construction requires very serious ingenuity. Artists, engineers, and architects pour vast resources into bridge construction so that they can reshape our daily environment for the better. When building bridges you’ll need help from BATS which are the key structural components of bridge construction such as beams, arches , trusses, and suspensions. Various combinations of these four technologies make it possible for numerous bridge designs, ranging from some bridges as simple as beam bridges, arch bridges, truss bridges, and suspension bridges to more complicated bridges like side-spar cable-stayed bridges. Some of the key differences between these four types of bridges is the lengths that they can cross a single span, which is the total distancve between two of the bridges supports. Bridges supports can take the forms of columns, towers or even the walls of nature around the bridge like canyons. Beam bridges range up to 200 feet , while modern arch bridges can reach up to 800-1000 feet safely. Suspension bridges on the other hand are able to extend from 2000-7000 feet across. Compression and tension are present in all bridges and they are capable of damaging parts of the bridge as varying load weights and other forces act on the structure of the bridge. It is the job of the bridge design to handle these forces without buckling or snapping. Buckling occurs when a compression is able to overcome a objects ability to endure that certain force. Snapping is what happens when tension surpasses an objects ability to handle the lengthening force. The most effective way to deal with these powerful forces is to either dissipate them or transfer them. With the dissipation the design allows the force to be spread out over a greater area so that no one certain spot has to endure to much pressure. In transferring force, a design moves stress from an area of weakness to an area of strength. Beam bridges, bridge building isn’t more simple than this. When building a beam bridge all you need is a rigid horizontal structure and two supports, one at each end, to rest it on. These components directly support the downward weight of the bridge and any traffic traveling over it. Many beam bridges use steel or concrete to handle their certain loads. The size of the beam, and the certain height of the beams, determines how far that the beam can span up to. By increasing to height of the beam, the beam has more material to lower the tension. To create taller beams the designer of the bridge adds supporting latticework, or a truss, to the bridge’s beam. The support from the truss adds rigidity to the existing beam, greatly increasing its ability to dissipate the compression and tension of the bridge. Once the beam begins to compress, the force spreads through the truss. Yet even with a truss a beam bridge is only good for a max-limited distance. To make the bridge have a greater distance you need to build a bigger truss, until you have reached the point where even a truss cant support the bridges weight. During the industrial revolution, beam bridges were developing in the United States rapidly. Engineers gave many different truss designs in order to try and perfect it. All the different truss patterns also factored into how bridges were being built. some designs had the truss under the bridge ,while some designs had the truss above the bridge. A single beam spreading any distance undergoes compression and tension. At the very top of the beam has the most compression and at the very bottom of the beam has the most tension. In the middle of the beam has very little compression or tension. This is why beams are built with bridges, they provide more material on the tops and bottoms of beams to better handle the forces of...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Physics egg crash essay
  • The Physics of a Truss Bridge Essay
  • Physics Research Paper
  • Essay about Physics
  • project management essay
  • Senior Project Reflective Essay
  • Physics Project Essay
  • Physics Project Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free