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The Physics of Bridges

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The Physics of Bridges

The design of the bridge superstructure is based on a set of loading conditions
which the component or element must withstand. A bridge engineer must take into
account a wide variety of loads which may vary based on the duration of the load
(permanent or temporary), the direction of the load (vertical, longitudinal, etc.), and the
effect of the load (shear, bending, torsion, etc.).
In order to form a consistent basis for design, organizations like AASHTO, American
Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, have developed a set of
standard loading conditions which are applied to the engineer's design model of the
structure. Other nations maintain their own set of design loads like the BS 5400 loads
utilized in the United Kingdom or the Ontario Highway Bridge Design Code, OHBDC,
loads utilized in the Canadian province of Ontario and elsewhere in that nation. (1)
Permanent loads, as the name would imply, are those loads, which always remain on a
bridge throughout its life. Although the term dead load is often used synonymously ...

... middle of paper ...

... can be referred to the AASHTO specifications directly for information.


1. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO): Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, Washington, D.C., 1977
2. Bakht, B. and Jaegar, L.G.: Bridge Analysis Simplified: 1985
3. Serway: Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Vol. 1, 4th ed. 1996
4. Hoelsher, R.P. and Springer, C.H. and Dobrovolny, J.S.: Graphics for Engineers: Visualization, Communication, and Design, New York, New York, 1968

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