Introduction to structural integrity
Introduction to structural integrity

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Introduction to structural integrity

3.3.3 Reassembling the parts

As the wreckage was pulled from the river it was examined and identified, and any failures of the metal components were recognised and tagged. This was a mammoth task, given that virtually the whole bridge had fallen into the water, including all the road decks, trusses, chains and hangers, eye bars and the two towers. The parts were then reassembled and all the failed or fractured components photographed and catalogued. Over 90 per cent of the bridge components were collected together and reorganised into their original positions in the bridge. Their position on the river bed before extraction was also an important facet of the investigation. To help reconstruct the sequence of events, the metal parts were classified into different categories:

  • undamaged, or minimum damage;
  • ductile damage, such as distortion or bending;
  • separation of parts by fracture.

The fractured parts were then examined in detail to identify the extent of plasticity, exposure of fracture surfaces, and their chemical state.

Distinguishing the different kinds of damage to the many different structures in the bridge was time-consuming, and often difficult. Metal surfaces exposed by fracture would have rusted both in the river and later, when exposed to the atmosphere during storage and reassembly. A selection of critical failed parts needed to be identified for shipping to the many labs involved in detailed analysis of the components.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus