Introduction to structural integrity
Introduction to structural integrity

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Introduction to structural integrity

3.3.1 Sequence of events

It was important to establish the precise sequence of events leading up to and during the collapse. From which part had the collapse started? Why had so much of the structure been destroyed? Was there any prior warning of the failure? What part had the weather conditions at the time played?

Eyewitnesses were plentiful, and each had a different perspective of the bridge as it fell. There were some common parts to their statements. Most of the witnesses, especially survivors from vehicles on the bridge at the time, testified that they heard cracking sounds very early in the collapse. This suggested that brittle fracture was an important failure mode, if not initiating the fall then certainly playing a crucial role in the disaster.

Testimony showed that the bridge vibrated during high lateral winds, and also when traffic crossed, which meant that movement in the eye-bar joints would have been occurring quite regularly. There was generally significant traffic across the bridge since it carried an Interstate highway.

Witness statements attested to unusual vibrations in the roadway just before the collapse. They also noticed that a bolt or cap-like object was seen on the roadway prior to or during the initial period of the collapse.

T357_1

Take your learning further371

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 courses372.

If you are new to university level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. Find out Where to take your learning next?373 You could either choose to start with an Access courses374or an open box module, which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification.

Not ready for University study then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn375 and sign up to our newsletter376 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 prospectus371