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Modeling Catastrophic Failure Of Strings And Suspension Bridge Cables

Date:
August 17, 2007
Source:
Kent State University
Summary:
While others have probed how breaking strength varies with length, few have examined a large data set (from 1mm to 1km). Researchers tested a model to predict catastrophic failure with a simple string experiment. The researchers say the model could be used to gain insight into ubiquitous destructive events, such as sudden failure of cables on a suspension bridge, dielectric and superconductivity breakdown, tunneling resistivity and mechanical failure.

What do a centuries old gambling puzzle, thread and catastrophic failure have in common? A simple experiment conducted by Kent State chemical physics professor Peter Palffy-Muhoray and graduate student Jake Fontana reveals the answer.

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The team used the Petersburg Paradox, a game in which a gambler’s winnings inevitably fall short of his reasonable expectations, to predict how the force required to break two types of string varied with its length.

Their results showed that as the string length increases, the force required to break the string decreases in a particular way.

While others have probed how breaking strength varies with length, few have examined such a large data set (from 1mm to 1km). Researchers test a model to predict catastrophic failure with this simple string experiment. The researchers say the model could be used to gain insight into ubiquitous destructive events, such as sudden failure of cables on a suspension bridge, dielectric and superconductivity breakdown, tunneling resistivity and mechanical failure.

The researcher’s findings were presented at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver and are currently under review for publication in a scientific journal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kent State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kent State University. "Modeling Catastrophic Failure Of Strings And Suspension Bridge Cables." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070816115827.htm>.
Kent State University. (2007, August 17). Modeling Catastrophic Failure Of Strings And Suspension Bridge Cables. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070816115827.htm
Kent State University. "Modeling Catastrophic Failure Of Strings And Suspension Bridge Cables." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070816115827.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

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