We as humans have surrounded ourselves with bridges from the beginning of time. Humans have indeed engineered structures to get over obstacles. That’s how bridges were first invented. We have employed and transformed stone, steel, lumber, and even living vegetation. The goal was always to reach the people, places, and things we need and desire.
The concept behind a bridge can seem very simple. However, bridge design and construction require far away more planning and professionalism than you might ever imagine. That is why artists, engineers, and architects put all their efforts into bridge construction. This is also how we can reshape the environment in which we live.
In this article, we will discover together the basic logic behind each bridge you see daily. We will also touch upon the topic of a bridge inspection, which is essential to ensure everyone’s safety over a long time. There is nothing worse than being responsible for people’s death because that particular bridge hadn’t been inspected and preserved correctly.
BATS – The basics of bridge design
When it comes to building a bridge, we will need to use BATS. We are not referring to the furry animals, but rather to the vital structural components of bridge construction. These are beams, arches, trusses, and suspensions.
The combinations of these four technologies can ensure the construction and design of various types of bridges, spacing from simple beam bridges, truss bridges, arch bridges, and suspension bridges to more complex variations.
The main difference between these four types of bridge types is related to the lengths they can cross in a single span. In other words, we are talking about the distance between 2 bridge supports, aka the physical braces that connect the bridge to the surface below. When it comes to bridging supports, there are many options we can select: columns, towers, or even the walls of a canyon.
Take, for example, modern beam bridges. They are more likely to span up to 60 meters. On the other hand, modern arch bridges can cross 240-300 meters. However, suspension bridges can extend to up to 610 – 2134 meters.
It doesn’t matter what the structure is; every bridge is subject to the two forces we will examine next.
Tension and compression
Each bridge has to deal with 2 fundamental forces, known as compression and tension. The way it handles them also allows an arch bridge to span greater distances than a beam one. The same is true for a suspension bridge, which will stretch over a range seven times more than an arch bridge.
Tension: imagine what happens to a rope during a game of tug-of-war. It is influenced by the pressure from 2 opposing teams, which are pulling on it at the same time. The same force acts on bridges and generates what is known as “tensional stress”.
Compression: think now of what usually happens when you push down on a spring, and it collapses. Indeed, when you compress and squish it, you are shortening its length. That’s why “compressional stress” is precisely the opposite of tensional stress.
All bridges are influenced by these two forces, which can damage part of the bridge. Indeed, varying load weights and other forces will act on the bridge structure all the time. It’s therefore essential to invest in bridge design so that we can handle these forces without snapping or buckling.
While it’s indeed essential to consider and manage these forces, it’s even more critical to ensure that everything is working just as fine in the bridge. For this reason, bridge inspection is just as crucial as bridge design, if not even more vital to ensure that a bridge can keep up with the weight loads, environmental forces, and other unexpected events. You can’t perform a professional bridge inspection without a bridge inspection truck. You might be wondering where to get one. Well, it’s pretty easy. You just need to contact Hangzhou Special Automobile. This leading company owns more than 200 vehicles. It also has more than 47 utility patents in the areas of bridge inspection truck, special vehicles, and fuel tankers.
In this article, we have examined some knowledge about the bridges we so often take for granted as well as the designs that make them possible. We have looked at some of the fundamental principles of bridge engineering, how we usually attempt to control the physical forces and the natural phenomena that continue to threaten and destroy bridges.
While some bridges from Ancient Greece are still there and almost intact, there are many other ones which have fallen. Humans will likely continue to tackle even more ambitious construction projects for better and more reliable bridges. Don’t waste time you could spend building the best bridge and ensuring its stability with a bridge inspection. Visit now the Hangzhou Special Automobile’s official website!