In all cultures and over many millennia man has needed to cross rivers and gorges. To this end the bridge was developed. Probably the first type of bridge comprised stone slabs placed on large rocks and the rope suspension bridge has certainly been around for a long time.  Modern bridges follow from the stone arch bridges of the middle ages combining new materials to develop ever larger spans. Today we marvel at the engineering spectacles such as the Viaduc de Millau, that wonderful seven span cable-stayed bridge over the Tarn valley in Southern France. In this masterclass we shall look at the history of bridge development and discuss the engineering features of a variety of different styles of bridge, e.g. arch bridges, suspension bridges, frame bridges etc. In particular we shall investigate the structural features and the materials of these bridges. All students will design and build a bridge from simple materials to a specific brief and their bridges will be tested according to that brief.



PRIMARY: suspension, arch, girder bridges; tension, compression, bending, shear and torsion; structural elements.


SECONDARY: as above.


SIXTH FORM: plus elasticity, stress/strain relations, buckling.


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