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A Quick Guide to Different Types of Bridges

  • 20 Feb 2023

Taking a few pieces of wood and transforming them into a masterpiece is very fulfilling for engineers or anyone interested in constructing and designing model bridges. Additionally, they have so many options to choose from. If you’re struggling to narrow it down, we can help. Take a look at this quick guide to different types of bridges.

Arch Bridge

Arch bridges are unique because there’s no exact way to make them, and they have different design options. For example, a tied arch bridge is one design worth exploring. It includes an arch structure with vertical ties between the arch and the deck. Vertical ties are necessary for this design and every design concerning arch bridges.

The ties, or abutments, support the curve of the arch and the overall structure of the bridge. Without the abutments, the bridge will collapse in on itself. A tied arch bridge is a fascinating structure, and the most common arch bridge is a viaduct. This long bridge is made up of many arches, and you see them all over cities and urban areas.

Truss Bridge

A truss bridge is extremely common, and the design has existed for centuries. When students learn about bridges and bridge designs, a truss bridge is one of the first they discover. The structure is very simple to make and explain.

The load-bearing structure includes a highly efficient truss. Because a truss bridge is so common, the designs can vary. Every variation must include triangular sections; otherwise, it’s not a truss design. The triangular sections absorb tension and compression to create a structure that accommodates heavy loads.

Beam Bridge

A beam bridge might be the simplest design out of the bunch—a basic log bridge constitutes a beam bridge. The designs are more common in rural areas. The deck could be a slab of wood or stone. Engineers refer to this design as a clapper bridge.

The support comes from two beams on either side running between the abutments or piers. It’s common to see other beams positioned between the main beams for additional support. The deck lays across the beams. When building a model beam bridge, ensure the beams can support the weight of the deck and whatever hypothetically travels across.

Cantilever Bridge

Cantilever bridges are more exciting because the first design was a breakthrough in the engineering world. The cantilever works the same as beams and trusses, but the engineers behind construction made them unique.

The horizontal beam makes up the cantilever arm and only supports one side. That might sound unsafe, but it’s not. A suspended span, or a centerpiece with no direct support underneath, connects the two cantilever arms. The bridge load gets its support through diagonal bracing with horizontal beams. You can try out this design with one of our model bridge kits.

At AC supply, we have quick guides for all sorts of models, not just different types of bridges! For more information, visit our website.