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Name: Adam
Status: Student
Grade: 6-8
Location: IN
Country: United States
Date: January 2008

How are bridges built to support the weight of cars and trains and other vehicles every day?

Hi Adam,

Your question is FAR too big to answer in the space available. To do so, I would need to write a textbook! There are many, many different types of bridges, and all use different design principles. For example, a suspension bridge is a totally different structure than a truss bridge, or a cable-stayed bridge, or a cantilever bridge, just to name a few.

You may be able to get a feel for the stresses in the common "truss bridge" by looking at this website: This not only shows you how the various beams are stressed 9some in tension and some in compression0, but if you click on the link at the bottom, you can try designing one yourself and see what stresses result. Lots of fun!


Bob Wilson

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