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Title: Theoretically optimal forms for very long span bridges under gravity loading
Authors: Fairclough, HE
Gilbert, M
Pichugin, A
Tyas, A
Firth, I
Keywords: Bridges;Catenary of equal strength;Structural optimization;Layout optimization
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Royal Society
Citation: Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Abstract: Long span bridges have traditionally employed suspension or cable-stayed forms, comprising vertical pylons and networks of cables supporting a bridge deck. However, the optimality of such forms over very long spans appears never to have been rigorously assessed, and the theoretically optimal form for a given span carrying gravity loading has remained unknown. To address this we here describe a new numerical layout optimization procedure capable of intrinsically modelling the self-weight of the constituent structural elements, and use this to identify the form requiring the minimum volume of material for a given span. The bridge forms identified are complex and differ markedly to traditional suspension and cable-stayed bridge forms. Simplified variants incorporating split pylons are also presented. Although these would still be challenging to construct in practice, a benefit is that they are capable of spanning much greater distances for a given volume of material than traditional suspension and cablestayed forms employing vertical pylons, particularly when very long spans (e.g. over 2km) are involved.
DOI: https://10.1098/rspa.2017.0726
ISSN: 1471-2946
Appears in Collections:Dept of Mathematics Research Papers

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