Causes And Effects Of Tacoma Washington Bridge Disaster Essay Sample
Tacoma Washington Bridge was a double protracted bridge in the United States of Washington. The construction of the said bridge commenced on September, 1938. Come 1st July, 1940, the bridge was opened to traffic. Obnoxiously, Tacoma Bridge did not last for long, it mysterious collapsed in 7th of November of the same year. The collapse was not a surprise to many because the bridge was in a vertical motion since its time of construction. The concerted efforts by the construction work to stop the vertical motion of the bridge remained futile. The paper seeks to explain the causes and effects of Tacoma Washington Bridge disaster.
The primary and the major cause of Tacoma Bridge tragedy was Torsional Flutter. Evidently, in the year of 1940, narrow bridges offered little opposition to Torsional forces, reason being, it had astronomical depth-to-width ratio of 1 to 72. Also, Gertie’s long, narrow, and thin stiffening girder made the structure extremely flexible. Furthermore, Vortex shedding also led to Torsional motion of the Bridge (Jurado& José 127). The turning bridge greatly accelerated the separation of wind flow, and as a result Vortex was formed which further lifted and twisted the bridge, deck. The mentioned Deck structure opposed the lifting and twisting and had a natural tendency to return to its original position. As a result, its speed and direction harmonized the lifting force, leading to the production of lock-on event.
Similarly, as the bridge Deck rotated, the wind force acting on the surface changed. A notable fact is that when the bridge rotates backward, the centrifugal forces invariably push the bridge in the opposite direction. As the mentioned Deck turned more and more, the effects mentioned on the Deck increased and after that center stay failed (Denny 121). It is imperative to mention that the bridge was free to rotate even more. The negative damping effect and increase in rotation resulted in Torsional oscillation that caused the collapse of the bridge. The collapse of Tacoma Bridge had a positive impact on research especially in the field of Bridge aerodynamics-aero elastic.
The said research had after that influenced the design of the entire world’s great long span bridge built since 1940s. Due to the development in the field of engineering, there have been fewer cases of bridges collapsing since then. The mentioned adversity had a long-term consequence in the field of science, specifically, engineering (Denny 324). Evidently in physic and science textbooks, the remorseful event is captured with a view of enabling the students in the mentioned discipline to have a clear understanding of the impact of forced resonance. Secondly, the unfortunate event has led to several researchers on how better design and improved bridges can be established to prevent another semblance occurrence
As a result of the mentioned disaster, for the first time the limitation of Deflection theory was revealed. Since then the disaster aerodynamics stability analysis came to supplement the theory. It is important to mention that the said disaster aerodynamics stability analysis did not replace the Deflection Theory but just acted as a supplement (Jurado & José 156). Development of disaster aerodynamics stability analysis had in fact contributed positively to the field of engineering and bridge development.
Denny, Mark. Super Structures: The Science of Bridges, Buildings, Dams, and Other Feats of Engineering. USA: JHU Press, 2010.Print
Jurado, J. A., and José ÁngelJuradoAlbarracín. Bridge aeroelasticity: sensitivity analysis and optimal design. UK: Vol. 10. WIT Press, 2011.Print