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Design for engineering the brooklyn bridge

Picture from:

Design for EngineeringThe Brooklyn Bridge

An American engineering success

2006 Greg Heitkamp

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0402616.) Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Engineer john a roebling
Engineer: John A. Roebling

  • Born: 12 June 1806 Muehlhausen Prussia

  • Educated Civil Engineering Royal Polytechnic Institute of Berlin 1826

  • Immigrated to US in 1831 to be a farmer

  • Founded Saxonburg Pennsylvania

  • Appointed Chief Engineer Brooklyn Bridge Project, 23 May 1867 salary $8000.00

  • 6 July 1869 Injure in accident foot crushed

  • 22 July 1869 Dies from infection from foot amputation

Engineer continued
Engineer continued

  • August Washington Roebling appointed to replace his deceased father. Engineer will finish project

  • Was a Colonel in the Union Army and responsible for the defense at Little Round Top at Gettysburg

  • Health was affected by long hours in 1872 and nearly died

  • Died 26 July , 1926 at age 79

Interesting facts
Interesting Facts

  • Bridge Style - Suspension Bridge.

  • Tower Structure - Stone masonry

  • Distance of roadbed above water - 135 feet

  • Height of Towers above high water- 276½ feet (JSG)

  • Height of tallest building in New York in 1883 - 281 feet       The Spire of Trinity Church

  • Height of Towers above roadway - 159 feet (JSG)

  • Height of Tower Arches above roadway - 117 feet (JSG)

  • Source of Granite - Quarries of J.R. Bodwell, Hallowell, Maine. (1872).        (The same stone was used in Tombs prison and the reservoir in Central Park)

Historical setting influencing construction
Historical Setting Influencing Construction

  • New York Legislature considers a bill to build a bridge over the East River in 1857

  • Brooklyn Population 1860 266,000

  • Brooklyn Population 1870 396,000 50% increase, Fastest growing city in the country

  • 18 Bill to build the bridge passes the legislature

Engineering challenges
Engineering Challenges

  • Waterproofing the wood caissons

  • Getting the proper wire for the cables

  • Preventing workers working inside the caisson from getting the bends better known as Caisson Disease

  • Construction Accidents

Ethical conflicts
Ethical Conflicts

  • Steel Cable Contractor Fraud

  • Prevent deaths due to cables braking

How this structure changed society
How this Structure Changed Society

  • “The bridge was suggested during a time when America was under a Manifest Destiny spirit; when the idea of the frontier and expanding onto new land was desirable. A time of urbanization, receding rural areas, and technology was on the rise in New York. It just needed a trigger: the Brooklyn Bridge. When the fusion of society and technology was brought to new heights with the Brooklyn Bridge, New Yorkers saw it as a stepping-stone. They realized they could build taller, use more expertise, create more of a shock. The Brooklyn Bridge was the catalyst for the phenomenon of the skyscraper in New York City. The idea of a bridge foreshadowed a new standard of life; it was the seed of industry and development. David McCullough noted in his book, The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, "Even before the bridge was opened it had become a symbol of something impossible to define that made New York different from every other city on earth. The bridge dominated the imagination the way it dominated the skyline." “(3)

Standards addressed
Standards Addressed

  • Standard 2:Students will develop an understanding of the core concepts of technology.

    • X. Systems thinking applies logic and creativity with appropriate compromises in complex real-life problems.

    • Z. Selecting resources involves trade-offs between competing values, such as availability cost, desirability, and waste.

Standards addressed continued
Standards Addressed Continued

Standard 2 continued

  • AA. Requirements involve the identification of the criteria and constraints of a product or system and the determination of how they affect the final design and development.

  • DD. Quality control is planned process that ensure that a product, service, or system meets established criteria.

Standards addressed continued1
Standards Addressed Continued

  • Standard 5: Students will develop an understanding of the effects of technology on the environment.

    • L. Decisions regarding the implementation of technologies involve the weighing of trade-offs between predicted positive and negative effects on the environment.

Standards addressed continued2
Standards Addressed Continued

  • Standard 8: Students will develop an understanding of the attributes of design.

    • K. Requirements of a design, such as criteria, constraints, and efficiency, sometimes compete with each others.