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Introduction to structural integrity
The I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in August 2007, resulting in at least 13...
The I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in August 2007, resulting in at least 13 deaths, illustrates the importance of structural integrity. This unit looks at the investigation that followed the collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River in 1967 which demonstrates how the study of safe design and the assessment of components and structures under load is of increasing importance in engineering design.
After you have completed this unit you should be able to:
- differentiate between and describe dissolution, degredation and corrosion as they affect the deterioration of structural materials;
- predict electrochemical behaviour between dissimilar metals;
- explain galvanic corrosion in terms of the electrochemical series;
- distinguish between the hoop and longitudinal stresses in a pressure-vessel wall, and specify them in terms of the pressure, wall thickness and diameter of the vessel;
- describe the loads in the various parts of a structure and the most likely load path;
- indicate the procedures needed in practical failure analysis;
- specify the failure mechanisms possible when a nominally ductile material fails in a brittle fashion;
- relate crack formation to the loads on a component, bearing in mind the importance of stress concentrations in the component concerned;
- provide a likely sequence of events involved in the failure of a part made from several different components;
- describe the problem of fretting wear at a bearing joint;
- describe the key circumstances of a particular accident or disaster, and relate the sequence of events to specific causes supported by the relevant evidence.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Engineering for purpose
- 2 Environmental deterioration
- 2.1 Introduction
- 2.2 Degradation, dissolution and corrosion
- 2.3 Corrosion processes
- 2.4 Corrosion processes: galvanic corrosion
- 2.5 Corrosion processes: galvanic series
- 2.6 Corrosion in stressed products – stress corrosion cracking (SCC)
- 3 Case study: The Silver Bridge
- 3.1 Background information
- 3.2 The disaster
- 3.3 The investigation
- 3.3.1 Sequence of events
- 3.3.2 Planning the investigation
- 3.3.3 Reassembling the parts
- 3.3.4 Examining the parts
- 3.4 Analysis of eye bar 330
- 3.4.1 Fracture surface
- 3.4.2 Analysis of the eye-bar steel
- 3.4.3 Simulated environmental tests
- 3.4.4 Stress concentration at joint
- 3.4.5 Fretting fatigue
- 3.4.6 Residual stress
- 3.5 Design of the bridge
- 3.6 Failure sequence
- 3.7 Aftermath
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Introduction to structural integrity
Structural integrity is the study of the safe design and assessment of components and structures under load, and has become increasingly important in engineering design. It integrates aspects of stress analysis, materials behaviour and the mechanics of failure into the engineering design process.
This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 20th July 2011
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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