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# Statics in Bridges

What is a force?

## Stationary objects are static.

No net forces
No net moments (torques)

## Gravity is pulling you down.

The stool is pushing you up.
Force is compression.
Each leg supports of the weight
Total forces are zero (statics).

## Gravity pulls the girl down

(weight).
Force in the line is
tension.

Sample calculation-

## Bending- Beams have very little bending

strength.
Never design a structure that relies on
bending strength to support a load.

## Design and construction ideas:

1) Triangles are a construction engineers best friend, i.e.
there are no bending moments in triangular elements.

Good design

## Bad design (truss strength depends on bending

strengths of members)

Truss Bridges

## In a truss bridge forces are at an

angle.
Since the bridge is
stationary the Net force
must be zero.

Beam in compression
Failure occurs two ways:
1) When L/d < 10, failure is by crushing
2) When L/d > 10, failure is by buckling
We are almost always concerned with failure by buckling.

## Compression- Buckling Strength: F = (k)d4/L2

If a beam of length L and diameter d can support
a
d
F
L
then a beam of length L/2 and diameter d can
support a compressive load of 4F.
d

4F
L/2

d

F
L

## and a beam of length L and diameter 2d can

support a compressive load of 16F.
2d

16F
L

## Compression- Buckling Strength: F = (k)d4/L2

In compression short and fat members are good.
Bigger beams can be fabricated out of smaller
beams, as in a truss.

## The fabricated beam will have the same buckling

strength as a solid beam, provided the buckling/tension
strengths of the component beams are not exceeded.

Tension: F=kR2

## Beam under tension

Failure occurs when tensile strength is exceeded.
Maximum load is tensile strength times cross-sectional area.
Load capacity does not depend on length.

## Use Bridge Designer to calculate loads:

http://www.jhu.edu/~virtlab/bridge/bridge.htm

## Tension members are in RED

Compression members are in BLUE

## Design and construction ideas:

Taller is better: note loads on these two structures.

a)

a)

b)

b)

## Calculate Tension &

Compression Values for the
Balsa Bridge

Tension:
F=kR2
Balsa wood k=19.9 MPa

Compression:
F= E3R4
64L2
Balsa wood E=1130 MPa
E= youngs modulus (a measure of the
rigidity of a material, the large E is the less
the material will deform when under stress)

## Some properties of balsa wood

(dry)

Density

150 kg/m3

.0054 lb/in2

Compressive
Strength

12.1 MPa

1750 lb/in2

Tensile Strength

19.9 MPa

2890 lbs/in2

Elastic ModulusCompression

460 MPa

66,700 lb/in2

Elastic ModulusTension

1280 MPa

185,300 lb/in2

## For comparison, cast aluminum (wet or dry):

1. Ultimate tensile strength ~10,000psi
2. Stiffness E~10,000,000psi

## Design and construction ideas:

plane, may be a terrible one in the z-direction.
2. Plan the total bridge design. Estimate the weight of each of
the components, so that you will not exceed the weight limit (95
grams).
3. Make a full-size pattern of your bridge. Build the bridge on
this pattern. This will ensure that all components will assemble
properly (use wax paper).
4. Rough cut members then sand to the desired length.
5. Common disqualifications:
a. angles must be over 30 degrees.
b. Gluing cannot go beyond 3mm from a joint.
c. Mass of bridge <95 grams

Types of Trusses

Pratt Truss

K Truss

Howe Truss

## Use Bridge Builder

Go to
http://www.jhu.edu/~virtlab/virtuallaboratory/

Statics

## Cantilevered truss--Firth of Forth rail bridge

Suspension--Golden Gate