Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers tackle collapsing bridges with new technology

Date:
April 30, 2013
Source:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Summary:
Researchers have proposed a new technology that could divert vibrations away from load-bearing elements of bridges to avoid catastrophic collapses. The “wave bypass” technique has many similarities to those being used by researchers looking to create Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks, which exploit human-made materials known as metamaterials to bend light around objects.

In this month's issue of Physics World, an international group of researchers propose a new technology that could divert vibrations away from load-bearing elements of bridges to avoid catastrophic collapses.

Related Articles


Michele Brun, Alexander Movchan, Ian Jones and Ross McPhedran describe a "wave bypass" technique that has many similarities to those being used by researchers looking to create Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks, which exploit human-made materials known as metamaterials to bend light around objects.

Led by Movchan, who is at the University of Liverpool, the researchers propose making "lightweight changes" to existing bridges by bolting on special lightweight structures at period intervals to the underside of the main "deck" of the bridge. These structures would consist of concentrated cubic blocks, or resonators, linked to each other, and the bridge, by a series of bars.

The resonators, appearing under the bridge like a set of hanging baskets, could be fine-tuned to the specific vibrations that make a bridge susceptible to collapsing, meaning the vibrations get redirected into the resonators and make the bridge safer.

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is perhaps the most famous example of a bridge that collapsed in response to external forces. In 1940 strong rhythmic cross-winds resonated with the bridge's natural frequency, causing it to bend and twist until it collapsed.

Although 21st-century structures are much more robust, the researchers' proposals have been inspired by events on the Volga Bridge two years ago.

The 7.1 km bridge, which crosses the river Volga in Russia, was forced to shut in May 2011 -- less than a year after opening -- when a long-wavelength resonance vibration caused sections of the bridge to bend. A similar problem struck the Millennium Bridge in London when it first opened in 2000.

"Even though the Volga and Millennium bridges were designed using industry-standard packages, the fact that problems arose shows that it is all too easy with large and complicated structures to overlook vibrations that may cause structural problems under practical conditions," the researchers write.

The concept of a wave bypass is also found widely in nature, specifically in certain moths and butterflies, which have remarkable nanostructures that create diffracting mirrors. The mirrors funnel light of a desired colour into a vivid optical display on the organism's body.

"It is, to us, remarkable that the principles lying behind structured mirrors, waveguides and bypass structures can be used not just by the humble sea mouse for its iridescence but also by engineers in the quest for more resilient and robust bridges," the researchers write.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics (IOP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics (IOP). "Researchers tackle collapsing bridges with new technology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430194118.htm>.
Institute of Physics (IOP). (2013, April 30). Researchers tackle collapsing bridges with new technology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430194118.htm
Institute of Physics (IOP). "Researchers tackle collapsing bridges with new technology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430194118.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) A virtual flying enthusiast converts parts of a written-off Airbus aircraft into a working flight simulator in his northern Slovenian home. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins