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Structural Integrity: Silver Bridge: Track 1

The 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River was an engineering mystery and a human tragedy - 46 people died. Why did a suspension bridge built to last a century not make 40 years? Built in 1928, it was a slimmer version of similar bridges built in nearby Pittsburgh. The slimming down was deemed to be safe because of the use of a tougher steel and ‘silver coloured anticorrosion paint’. The tracks in this album look at the factors which led to the catastrophic failure of one of the eyebars which supported the deck, and the subsequent forensic investigation which led to the creation of the National Bridge Inspection Standards to inspect the 1 million bridges of the USA. This material forms part of the course T357, Structural integrity: designing against failure.

By: The iTunes U team (Programme and web teams)

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Track 1: Structural Integrity: Silver Bridge

A short introduction to this album.


© The Open University 2009


Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Structural Integrity: Silver Bridge    A short introduction to this album. Play now Structural Integrity: Silver Bridge
2 The Silver Bridge Disaster    How the Silver Bridge and the Hi-Carpenter Bridge differed from other suspension bridges in one crucial aspect. Play now The Silver Bridge Disaster
3 The Three Sisters Bridges    Why it's safer to incorporate more eyebars than are actually needed, to bear the weight of the bridge. Play now The Three Sisters Bridges
4 A New Wonder Material - or Not?    How the use of a new high-strength steel led to mistaken assumptions about safety. Play now A New Wonder Material - or Not?
5 The Weakest Link    How an investigation identified where the failure had occurred. A recovered eyebar is examined up close. Play now The Weakest Link
6 Trigger Factors    How increasing traffic and freezing temperatures triggered the failure. An eye-witness account of the collapse. Play now Trigger Factors
7 The Failure of Eyebar 330    How an undetected 3mm crack formed over 39 years weakened the eyebar, and a forensic deconstruction of what happened during the accident. Play now The Failure of Eyebar 330
8 The Aftermath    The legacy of the Silver Bridge Disaster. Play now The Aftermath