John A. Roebling And The Design Of Suspension Bridges

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EiffelJohn A. Roebling and theDesign of Suspension Bridges1. Methods of stiffening suspension bridges2. Evolution of form in Roebling's suspension bridges3. Wind and dangerous oscillations in suspension bridges4. Ambiguity of form vs. structural redundancy in suspension bridges5. Artistic representations of the Brooklyn BridgeEiffelBrunel

Load Paths in Suspension BridgesLoad Paths in Suspension BridgesWeight of Bridge DeckVehicle on Bridge DeckTTTTTCCTCCShape of cable?ParabolaBendingCStiffnessResistance to DeformationCLoad Paths in Suspension BridgesVehicle on Bridge DeckTTTForceCableCCDeck or TrussBending1. Cables have Stiffness2. Force Follows StiffnessCC

The Historical RecordLongestSpanSeverelyDamagedby WindExcessiveWindInducedMotion

Buffalo Creek Bridge (1917)Union Bridge (1820)Samuel Brown449 ft spanEnglandBrighton Chain Pier (1823)Samuel Brown113 ft span225 ft spansEngland

LongestSpanSeverelyDamagedby WindExcessiveWindInducedMotionMenai Straits Bridge (1826)Thomas Telford580 ft spanWalesLongestSpanSeverelyDamagedby WindExcessiveWindInducedMotionC.L.M.H. NavierCable Stiffness: Deformation1! Weight

Wheeling Bridge (1849)Charles Ellett1010 ft spanWest VirginaNiagara Railroad Bridge (1849)John A. Roebling822 ft spanNiagara RiverLongestSpanSeverelyDamagedby WindExcessiveWindInducedMotion

John Augustus Roebling1806-1869“The means employed are:Weight, Girders, Trusses, and Stays.With these any degree of stiffness can be insured, to resisteither the action of trains or the violence of storm . . .”J.A. Roebling, Final Report, Niagara BridgeNiagara Railroad Bridge (1849)John A. Roebling822 ft spanNiagara RiverLoad Paths in Suspension BridgesLoad Paths in Suspension BridgesVehicle on Bridge DeckVehicle on Bridge DeckTTCBendingC1. Suspension Cables2.3.1. Suspension Cables2. Bridge Deck3.

Load Paths in Suspension BridgesVehicle on Bridge DeckTT“The means employed are:Weight, Girders, Trusses, and Stays.With these any degree of stiffness can be insured, to resisteither the action of trains or the violence of storm . . .”J.A. Roebling, Final Report, Niagara BridgeC1. Suspension Cables2. Bridge Deck3. Diagonal StaysNiagara Railroad Bridge (1849)John A. Roebling822 ft spanNiagara RiverJohn Scott Russell (1839)2nd Dryburgh Abbey Bridge (1818)260 ft spanSecond Montrose Bridge (1840)432 ft span

Britannia Bridge (1850)Robert Stephenson460 ft spanWalesNiagaraBritanniaSpan Length821 ft460 ftTotal Length821 ft2 @ 1400 ftWeight2400 lb/ft7000 lb/ftCost 100 /ft 215 /ftRelative Stiffness1.51

John Augustus Roebling1806-1869John Roebling’sSuspension Bridges1844 Allegheny aqueduct at Pittsburgh1845 Smithfield Street Bridge1849 Delaware and Hudson aqueducts1855 Niagara suspension bridge1856 Ohio river bridge at Cincinnati1860 Sixth Street Bridge1883 Brooklyn BridgeNiagara suspension bridge - 1855

Sixth Street Bridge (1860)John A. Roebling344 ft spansPittsburghSmithfield Street Bridge (1846)John A. Roebling188 ft spansPittsburghAllegheny River Aqueduct (18xx)John A. Roebling188 ft spansPittsburgh

Delaware and Hudson Canal Aqueducts (1847-1850)114 ft to 170 ft spansPennsylvania & New York

Ohio River Bridge (1856)John A. Roebling1057 ft spanCincinnati

What is one method for imparting stiffnessto a suspension bridge?What are the aesthetic implications ofthis method?Draw a quick sketch of such a proposal

Flood tide below me! I see you face to face!Clouds of the west – sun there half an hour high –I see you also face to faceCrowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes,how curious you are to me!On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home,are more curious to me than you suppose,And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more to me,and more in my meditations, than you might suppose-Crossing Brooklyn FerryWalt Whitman (1856)

Washington Roebling

Boss TweedTammany Hall

Abraham HewittEmily Roebling

Brooklyn Bridge (1883)John and Washington Roebling1595.5 ft spanNew York


The Brooklyn Bridge was politically andeconomically significant because it joined thecities of New York and Brooklyn.Can you think of other civil works that havehad similar political and economic meanings?Are there places you would propose such aconstruction?Were the results positive, negative, mixed?

Again the traffic lights that skim thy swiftUnfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,Beading thy path--condense eternity:And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.“The Bridge”Hart Crane (1930)

Brooklyn BridgeScientificInnovative structural system of cables, stays and trussLongest span in the worldSocialConstruction amidst political corruptionTransforms city of New YorkBridge itself is a unique experienceSymbolicInspires numerous works of artThe image of New York CitySuspension Bridge StaticsTLoad PathAll forces or loads must eventually get to the ground.Can we trace the path of tension of compression?TTCTruckTCTTruckTTCTCHow does Roebling’s introduction of diagonal stays introduce ambiguity to the load path?

Free Body DiagramsA sketch of all or part of a structure, detached from its supportCabletensioncable ionMain span length/2Tower base reactionTower base reactionNotationEquilibriumHHAAddwHwHVBVBL/2!MA 0L/2

EquilibriumCable tensionHHAAddwHwHVBVB!MA 0,H wL2/8dL/2Hd - wL2/8 0,H wL2/8dR 10, H 2 x 105R 6, H 1.3 x 105TensionCompressionL/2w loadL sizeR L/dR formH wLR/8H functionR,L transform w into H

Design of Suspension Bridges 1. Methods of stiffening suspension bridges 2. Evolution of form in Roebling's suspension bridges 3. Wind and dangerous oscillations in suspension bridges . Longest span in the world Construction amidst political corruption Transfo

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