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Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Engineering Mechanics

Stress and strain

Engineering structures such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge have numerous forces applied to them. These forces come from live loads such as cars, trucks and trains, they come from the wind, and they come from the weight of the structure itself. All these loads combine together to create stress within the structure, and to deform, or strain, the structure. More…

Support cables

During the Bridge construction, each half arch was held back by a series of cables anchored in tunnels carved in the rock. There were 128 cables on the south shore supporting the southern arch and 128 on the north shore. More…

Factor of safety

In engineering, a ‘factor of safety’ is applied in the design of objects or structures in various ways. It is essentially a comparison between the strength of the material or structure and the stress we wish to apply to it — ensuring that the design is ‘safe’ for that material or that object or structure. More…

Bridge supports

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a two-pin arch construction, made up of two arches side by side, joined by horizontal cross-members. In this sort of arch, the vertical loads (the Bridge’s own weight plus the weight of trains, cars etc) tend to flatten the arch and push out against the abutments, creating both vertical and horizontal reaction forces. A beam bridge, by comparison, exerts only vertical forces at its supports. More…

Support cables

During the Bridge construction, each half arch was held back by a series of cables anchored in tunnels carved in the rock. There were 128 cables on the southern shore supporting the southern arch and 128 on the northern shore. More…

The Warren truss

An engineering truss is essentially a type of frame designed to transmit loads in structures to the supports. In this way, the static loads (mass), and live loads (traffic, wind) can be transmitted safely to the piers and abutments which in turn transfer the loads to the ground.

Trusses were usually made of timber, iron, or steel. They are not as common as they used to be because modern bridges tend to be steel box girder, post-stressed concrete, or cable-stayed structures. More…

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