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The I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in August 2007, resulting in at least 13 deaths, illustrates the importance of structural integrity. This free course, Introduction to structural integrity, 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 studying this course, 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.
- 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
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
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 OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course T357.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 23rd March 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 23rd March 2016
- 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 and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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