Aelius Bridge

Bridges

Basic notes about bridges ==== Detailed notes about bridges

Other notes about structures ==== All pages about structures

Alphabetical index of bridges and other topics

 

This year is the bicentenary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Much will be done to celebrate it. In "Sweat and Inspiration" by Martin Worth (ISBN0-7509-2675-9), I K Brunel is mentioned as only one of numerous great engineers, the rest of whom are not so much celebrated in Britain. And these are just some of the many 18th and 19th century British engineers who did so much to change our world. There were, and there are, of course, many great engineers around the world, so let's let celebrate Brunel as the representative of all engineers, rather than as some kind of unique genius.

 

Please ignore the rest of this page if you are simply looking for information about bridges, as it contains only general commentary about the contents.

What is in these pages?

Although the notes in these pages are about structures, they are not about engineering practice. They simply represent an attempt to look at the workings of simple structures. The explanations are not intended as a logical and formal set, to be read as a text book, and they use little mathematics, but every possible effort has been made to make them accurate within their limitations. There is little in these pages about the actual practice of building structures, because that subject is so vast and varied. Building a structure is often a source of difficulty and danger, sometimes from unexpected conditions or phenomena. The engineers must create not only a design that can stand safely for many years, but also efficient means of building it with due regard for safety, cost and the convenience and livelihoods of those affected by the process.

 

These pages describe standard basic structural components such as arches and beams, struts and ties, but they also explain that structures may contain parts that are not purely one or other of these basic types. The explanations often use small and ordinary examples that might be found in many places, rather than large and famous ones.

The structures discussed in these pages are mainly heavy and rigid, but those made by people who travel are very different. For them there is are extra criteria, such as portability, ease of assembly and dismantling, and the need to use locally available materials. Many different materials have been used. These dwellings are at one extreme of a spectrum: at the other we find pyramids, which are almost completely solid, and immensely heavy. An alternative to portability is to make something that can be left behind because it is so cheap, such as a snow-house. The extreme example is the snow-hole of a mountaineer who has been caught out by bad weather.

Looking at real buildings is of course far more interesting than looking at a site like this, and a visit to any place can be more rewarding if an effort is made to look at buildings, not just as a whole, but in detail: not just in appearance, but in function. Often something that shows signs of failure will reveal more than something that is in perfect condition. Around the world there is an immense diversity of buildings, creativity being limited only by the builders laws of physics and the available materials (and local traditions and building regulations

 

 

Although most of these pages are about bridges, these structures, however spectacular, are comparable to that of canals, railways and roads than pearls, also accountants initiated by unwelcome intrusions,language course.

Basic notes about bridges ==== Detailed notes about bridges

Other notes about structures ==== All pages about structures

Alphabetical index of bridges and other topics

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