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Norman Kwong Physics 409D. Physics of Bridges. Forces. Before we take a look at bridges, we must first understand what are forces. So, what is a force? A force is a push or a pull How can we describe forces? Lets a take a look at Newton’s law . Newton’s Laws.

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Norman kwong physics 409d

Norman Kwong

Physics 409D

Physics of Bridges


Forces
Forces

  • Before we take a look at bridges, we must first understand what are forces.

  • So, what is a force?

    • A force is a push or a pull

  • How can we describe forces?

    • Lets a take a look at Newton’s law


Newton s laws
Newton’s Laws

  • Sir Isaac Newton helped create the three laws of motion

  • Newton’s First law

    • When the sum of the forces acting on a particle is zero, its velocity is constant. In particular, if the particle is initially stationary, it will remain stationary.

    • “an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon”


Newton s laws continued
Newton’s Laws Continued

  • Newton’s Second law

    • A net force on an object will accelerate it—that is, change its velocity. The acceleration will be proportional to the magnitude of the force and in the same direction as the force. The proportionality constant is the mass, m, of the object.

    • “F = mass * acceleration”


Newton s laws continued1
Newton’s Laws Continued

  • Newton’s Third law

    • The forces exerted by two particles on each other are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction

    • “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”


So what do the laws tell us
So what do the laws tell us?

  • Looking at the second law we get Newton’s famous equation for force: F=ma m is equal to the mass of the object and a is the acceleration

    • Units of force are Newtons

      • A Newton is the force required to give a mass of one kilogram and acceleration of one metre per second squared (1N=1 kg m/s2)


So what do the laws tell us1
So what do the laws tell us?

  • However, a person standing still is still being accelerated

    • Gravity is an acceleration that constantly acts on you

    • F=mg where g is the acceleration due to gravity


So what do the laws tell us2
So what do the laws tell us?

  • Looking at the third law of motion

    • “for every action, there is a equal and opposite reaction”

  • So what does this mean?

    • Consider the following diagram

    • A box with a force due to gravity


So what do the laws tell us3
So what do the laws tell us?

  • “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”

  • A force is being exerted on the ground from the weight of the box. Therefore the ground must also be exerting a force on the box equal to the weight of the box

    • Called the normal force or FN


So what do the laws tell us4
So what do the laws tell us?

  • From the first law:

    • An object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon

    • This means that the sums of all the forces but be zero.

  • Lets look back at our diagram


The idea of equilibrium
The idea of equilibrium

  • The object is stationary, therefore all the forces must add up to zero

  • Forces in the vertical direction: FN and Fg

  • There are no horizontal forces


The idea of equilibrium1
The idea of equilibrium

  • But FN is equal to – Fg (from Newton’s third law)

  • Adding up the forces we get FN + Fg = – Fg + Fg = 0

  • The object is said to be in equilibrium when the sums of the forces are equal to zero


Equilibrium
Equilibrium

  • Another important aspect of being in equilibrium is that the sum of torques must be zero

  • What is a torque?

    • A torque is the measure of a force's tendency to produce torsion and rotation about an axis.

    • A torque is defined as τ=DF where D is the perpendicular distance to the force F.

    • A rotation point must also be chosen as well.


Torques
Torques

  • Torques cause an object to rotate

    • We evaluate torque by which torques cause the object to rotate clockwise or counter clockwise around the chosen rotation point


But what if the force isn t straight
But what if the force isn’t straight?

  • In all the previous diagrams, the forces have all been perfectly straight or they have all been perpendicular to the object.

  • But what if the force was at an angle?


Forces at an angle
Forces at an Angle

  • If the force is at an angle, we can think of the force as a triangle, with the force being the hypotenuse


Forces at an angle1
Forces at an Angle

  • To get the vertical component of the force, we need to use trigonometry (also known as the x-component)

  • The red portion is the vertical part of the angled force (also known as the y-component

  • Θis the angle between the force and it’s horizontal part



Forces at an angle2
Forces at an Angle

  • Like wise, we can do the calculation of the horizontal (the blue) portion by taking the cosine of the angle

    • Fhorizontal= F * cos (Θ)

    • Fhorizontal= 600N * cos (60o) =300N


Bridges
Bridges

  • Now that we have a rough understanding of forces, we can try and relate them to the bridge.

  • A bridge has a deck, and supports

  • Supports are what holds the bridge up

    • Forces exerted on a support are called reactions

  • Loads are the forces acting on the bridge


Bridges1
Bridges

  • A bridge is held up by the reactions exerted by its supports and the loads are the forces exerted by the weight of the object plus the bridge itself.


Beam bridge
Beam Bridge

  • Consider the following bridge

  • The beam bridge

    • One of the simplest bridges


What are the forces acting on a beam bridge
What are the forces acting on a beam bridge?

  • So what are the forces?

    • There is the weight of the bridge

    • The reaction from the supports


Forces on a beam bridge
Forces on a beam bridge

  • Here the red represents the weight of the bridge and the blue represents the reaction of the supports

  • Assuming the weight is in the center, then the supports will each have the same reaction


Forces on a beam bridge1
Forces on a beam bridge

  • Lets try to add the forces

    • Horizontal forces (x-direction): there are none

    • Vertical forces (y-direction): the force from the supports and the weight of the bridge


Forces on a beam bridge2
Forces on a beam bridge

  • Lets assume the bridge has a weight of 600N.

  • From the sums of forces Fy = -600N + 2 Fsupport=0

  • Doing the calculation, the supports each exert a force of 300N



Limitations
Limitations torques (

  • With all bridges, there is only a certain weight or load that the bridge can support

  • This is due to the materials and the way the forces are acted upon the bridge


What is happening
What is happening? torques (

  • There are 2 more other forces to consider in a bridge.

  • Compression forces and Tension forces.

    • Compression is a force that acts to compress or shorten the thing it is acting on

    • Tension is a force that acts to expand or lengthen the thing it is acting on



Bridge jargon
Bridge Jargon tension at the bottom of the bridge

  • Buckling is what happens to a bridge when the compression forces overcome the bridge’s ability to handle compression. (crushing of a pop can)

  • Snapping is what happens to a bridge when the tension forces overcome the bridge’s ability to handle tension. (breaking of a rubber band)

  • Span is the length of the bridge


How can deal with these new forces
How can deal with these new forces? tension at the bottom of the bridge

  • If we were to dissipate the forces out, no one spot has to bear the brunt of the concentrated force.

  • In addition we can transfer the force from an area of weakness to an area of strength, or an area that is capable of handling the force


A natural form of dissipation
A natural form of dissipation tension at the bottom of the bridge

  • The arch bridge is one of the most natural bridges.

  • It is also the best example of dissipation


  • In a arch bridge, everything is under compression tension at the bottom of the bridge

  • It is the compression that actually holds the bridge up

  • In the picture below you can see how the compression is being dissipated all the way to the end of the bridge where eventually all the force gets transferred to the ground


Compression in a arch
Compression in a Arch tension at the bottom of the bridge

  • Here is another look at the compression

  • The blue arrow here represents the weight of the section of the arch, as well as the weight above

  • The red arrows represent the compression


Arches
Arches tension at the bottom of the bridge

  • Here is one more look at the compression lines of an arch


A stronger bridge
A Stronger Bridge tension at the bottom of the bridge

  • Another way to increase the strength of a bridge is to add trusses

  • What are trusses??

    • A truss is a rigid framework designed to support a structure

  • How does a truss help the bridge?

    • A truss adds rigidity to the beam, therefore, increasing it’s ability to dissipate the compression and tension forces


So what does a truss look like
So what does a truss look like? tension at the bottom of the bridge

  • A truss is essentially a triangular structure.

  • Consider the following bridge (Silver Bridge, South Alouette River, Pitt Meadows BC )


Trusses
Trusses tension at the bottom of the bridge

  • We can clearly see the triangular structure built on top of a basic beam bridge.

  • But how does the truss increase the ability to handle forces?

    • Remember a truss adds rigidity to the beam, therefore, increasing it’s ability to dissipate the compression and tension forces


Trusses1
Trusses tension at the bottom of the bridge

  • Lets take a look at a simple truss and how the forces are spread out




  • Sum of forces = AY + E - 400N - 800N

    • Ay=500N



    • Sum of F look at what is happening at point Ax=TAC + TAB cos 60o = 0

    • Sum of Fy=TAB sin 60o +500N = 0

    • Solving for the two above equations we get

      • TAB = -577N TAC= 289N


    Compression and tension
    Compression and Tension look at what is happening at point A

    • TAB = -577N

    • TAC= 289N

    • The negative force means that there is a compression force and a positive force means that there is a tension force



    • Sum of F look at what is happening at point Ax = TBD + TBC cos 60o + 577 cos 60o= 0

    • Sum of Fy = -400N + 577sin60o –TBCsin60o=0

    • Once again, solving the two equations

      • TBC=115N TBD=-346N


    Tension and compression
    Tension and Compression look at what is happening at point A

    • TBC=115N

    • TBD=-346N

    • The negative force means that there is a compression force and a positive force means that there is a tension force


    Forces in a truss
    Forces in a Truss look at what is happening at point A

    • If we calculated the rest of the forces acting on the various points of our truss, we will see that there is a mixture of both compression and tension forces and that these forces are spread out across the truss


    Limitations of a truss
    Limitations of a Truss look at what is happening at point A

    • As we can see from our demo, the truss can easily hold up weights, but there is a limitation.

    • Truss bridges are very heavy due to the massive amount of material involved in its construction.


    Limitations of a truss1
    Limitations of a Truss look at what is happening at point A

    • In order to holder larger loads, the trusses need to be larger, but that would mean the bridge gets heavier

    • Eventually the bridge would be so heavy, that most of the truss work is used to hold the bridge up instead of the load


    Suspension bridge
    Suspension Bridge look at what is happening at point A

    • Due to the limitations of the truss bridge type, another bridge type is needed for long spans

    • A suspension bridge can withstand long spans as well as a fairly decent load.


    How suspension bridge works
    How Suspension Bridge Works look at what is happening at point A

    • A suspension bridge uses the tension of cables to hold up a load. The cables are kept under tension with the use of anchorages that are held firmly to the Earth.


    Suspension bridge1
    Suspension Bridge look at what is happening at point A

    • The deck is suspended from the cables and the compression forces from the weight of the deck are transferred the towers. Because the towers are firmly in the Earth, the force gets dissipated into the ground.


    Suspension bridge2
    Suspension Bridge look at what is happening at point A

    • The supporting cables that are connected to the anchorages experience tension forces. The cables stretch due to the weight of the bridge as well as the load it carries.


    Anchorages
    Anchorages look at what is happening at point A

    • Each supporting cable is actually many smaller cables bound together

    • At the anchorage points, the main cable separates into its smaller cables

    • The tension from the main cable gets dispersed to the smaller cables

    • Finally the tensional forces are dissipated into the ground via the anchorage


    Suspension bridge cable
    Suspension Bridge Cable look at what is happening at point A

    • Here is a cross section picture of what a main cable of a suspension bridge looks like


    A variation on the suspension
    A Variation on the Suspension look at what is happening at point A

    • A cable stayed bridge is a variation of the suspension bridge.

    • Like the suspension bridge, the cable stayed bridge uses cables to hold the bridge and loads up


    Comparison
    Comparison look at what is happening at point A


    Forces in a cable stayed
    Forces in a Cable Stayed look at what is happening at point A

    • A cable stayed bridge uses the cable to hold up the deck

    • The tension forces in the cable are transferred to the towers where the tension forces become compression forces


    Forces in a cable stayed1
    Forces in a Cable Stayed look at what is happening at point A

    • Lets take a quick look at the forces at one of the cable points.


    Forces in a cable stayed2
    Forces in a Cable Stayed look at what is happening at point A

    • The “Lifting force” holds up the bridge

    • The higher the angle that the cable is attached to the deck, the more load it can withstand, but that would require a higher tower, so there has to be some compromise


    Limitations1
    Limitations look at what is happening at point A

    • With all cable type bridges, the cables must be kept from corrosion

    • If the bridge wants to be longer, in most cases the towers must also be higher, this can be dangerous in construction as well during windy conditions

    • “The bridge is only as good as the cable”

      • If the cables snap, the bridge fails


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