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Why Does a Truss Make a Bridge Stronger?

  • 29 Aug 2023

We put much of our faith in bridges and the people constructing them. All it takes is one peek over the edge to give you butterflies because you realize how far down the descent is below. A bridge must support massive weights and heavy traffic for people to travel safely.

Because of this, engineers put forth a lot of effort to ensure that their designs don’t result in a dangerously unstable bridge. Trusses can be an engineer’s best friend, but why does a truss make a bridge stronger?

Why Is a Bridge So Sturdy?

A bridge’s stability depends greatly on its components. Engineers often employ iron and steel to ensure bridges can withstand the weight of the vehicles crossing them. However, it takes more than just sturdy materials to construct a reliable bridge.

A beam bridge has a straightforward design and non-supportive curbs or handrails on each side. The design is primarily reliant on the primary support beams. The “I” shaped beams reduce the total number required to support the bridge and the weight on each one.

How a Truss Fortifies a Bridge

Trusses come into play when a bridge is more complex than a simple beam version. A truss bridge is a suspension bridge that uses a network of beams to provide structural support. Typically, designers would set up the beams in a triangle configuration.

Truss design increases a bridge’s strength by distributing weight evenly over the structure. Trusses ensure that the bridge doesn’t buckle under pressure from the weight of the cars and hefty cargo. A truss bridge can sustain itself because of the increased rigidity and strength of the roadway, giving motorists a reliable way to cross safely.

Benefits of a Truss Bridge

Truss bridges have a tremendous load-bearing capability due to their construction and the geometric principles of triangles. Distributing the force outward from the road allows a truss bridge to control compression and strain equally well. No one side takes on the brunt of the pressure.

Compared to beam and arch bridges, the lifetime of a truss bridge is much greater. Long and strong, they are the preferred construction method in perilous spots such as the valleys that separate mountain peaks.

Building and designing a truss bridge requires many different parts and connections, but the design makes good use of all it has. Engineers and builders fully use the wood, steel, and iron required for truss bridges.

You can see why a truss makes a bridge stronger from AC Supply’s collection of model bridge kits. You will see the magic of a sturdy truss bridge in all its glory—at only a fraction of its size!