Why It Matters
Have you ever been worried while traveling over a bridge that it might collapse?
The San Francisco Bay Bridge did just that in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake! A section of the upper deck collapsed down onto the lower deck. Since then, engineers have been designing and building a new bridge that is more seismically safe:
Can you design a seismically safe bridge?
- Using the Bridge to Classroom’s bridge simulator (http://eduweb.com/portfolio/bridgetoclassroom/engineeringfor.html), build a model of your own that you think could withstand an earthquake.
- Begin by looking at the various types of bridges (beam girder, steel arch, etc.). For each type of bridge, draw a sketch and describe its characteristics.
- Decide which type of bridge you want for each segment of the bridge. Drag them into place.
- For each of the safety features, draw a sketch and describe their characteristics.
- Add safety features as necessary to your bridge.
- Now, test your bridge! Select different fault lines and magnitudes. Record the results of your tests.
- Go back and redesign to build a more seismically safe structure!
- Now that you are familiar with the critical factors when designing a seismically safe structure and with the various bridge designs, create your own bridge! Using only toothpicks and glue, can you create a bridge that can withstand the most amount of shaking and support the most amount of weight? http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/bridge/bridge2.html
Danny Forster. Build it Bigger. http://www.dannyforster.com/tv/build-it-bigger/san-fran-oakland-bay-bridge
Bill Willis. Worsley School. http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/bridge/bridge2.html