How Bridges Work

Have you ever driven over a bridge and wondered exactly how you are being held up above the water looming below? If you have, you are most certainly not alone. Check out the information in this article for a better understanding of how bridges actually work.

Balance of Forces

In order for a bridge to stand the test of time, it must properly balance multiple forces. The two main forces being balanced are compression and tension. Compression is a pushing force that acts inward while tension is a pulling force that acts outward. A bridge must also channel its entire weight onto the abutments (or supports on the ends) and piers (or supports in the middle). Although there are many types of bridges, they all must ensure the forces remain balanced. Many tools, such as bridge cranes Louisville, go into achieving this delicate balance.

Designing a Bridge

Although when you discuss bridges in terms of forces, it may seem as though it would be simple to design one. The reality is that designing a bridge takes precise engineering and consideration of many factors. Those factors include load, length and crossing. Engineers designing bridges must understand the load that the bridge will likely bear in order to know what the bridge will need to withstand. Additionally, environmental factors such as storms must be taken into account. The length the bridge needs to span impacts the type of bridge appropriate for a given project. The crossing must be accounted for because the ground where the bridge will stand significantly impacts the way the bridge should be designed.

Many people cross bridges throughout the world each and every day. They rarely take the time to ponder the astounding engineering skills that go into the design of those bridges. To create a bridge forces must be perfectly balanced and a number of environmental and other factors must be carefully studied and considered.