The arch bridge works by distributing compression through its semicircular form into a horizontal thrust restrained by its abutments, or legs. Longer bridges often consist of a series of arches, as the greater the curvature, the more tension on the bridge's underside. If the arch is too big, tension overcomes the natural strength of the semicircular design.Know More
Though there are architectural variations to arch bridges, the basic structure remains the same. In the past, arch bridges were often made of stones, with a keystone in the middle that bore the bulk of the weight. The more weight the bridge bore, the stronger its structure became. Due to their inherent weight, these bridges required extremely sturdy foundations. Most modern arch bridges are made of reinforced concrete.
Arch bridges are durable. The oldest standing arch bridge in the world, the Arkadiko Bridge on the Peloponnese in Greece, was built around 1300 B.C. but is still used today. Many Roman bridges and aqueducts, built in segmented arches, still stand. Medieval builders improved the span and height of arch bridges by modifying the thickness of the arch barrels. Modern arch bridges include the Lupu Bridge in Shanghai, which is more than 1,800 feet long, and the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia, which is 1,700 feet long.Learn more about Architecture
The Golden Gate Bridge is famous because it was the world's longest suspension bridge when it was first constructed in 1937 until November 21, 1964, when New York City opened its Verrazano–Narrows Bridge. The Verrazano–Narrows Bridge lost its place as the world's longest suspension bridge when the Humber Bridge opened in England on July 17, 1981.Full Answer >
Suspension bridges are box roadways supported by stanchions and steel cables of enormous tensile strength which themselves are strung on suspenders which themselves are anchored at the bridge's ends. This design ensures that when the roadway experiences load, it is transferred to the cables as tension.Full Answer >
Although the first engineer to design a beam, or "girder," bridge is not known, some of the earliest examples have been found in East Asia and South America. These were often made using natural fiber ropes and vines.Full Answer >
Arch bridges resist compression extremely well, while suspension bridges provide the best tensile strength. Since compression and tension are opposite in nature, it is not possible to guarantee that one type of bridge is the strongest against both.Full Answer >