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      Assessing structural efficiency: a study of gravity balanced cable-stay bridges

        1
      Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Bridge Engineering
      Thomas Telford Ltd.

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          Abstract

          The past few decades have witnessed a rapid increase in the role of the architect in the design of the once sacrosanct area of engineering – bridge design. Reasons for this relative decline in the engineer's role are many and varied, but must include the overemphasis on detailed analysis at the expense of understanding and creative design in engineering courses and the alarming reduction in structural education from engineering courses. With software now readily available to perform detailed structural analysis there is an opportunity to rebalance engineering courses towards much greater emphasis on understanding and design involving new approaches to analysis that can directly assist rational decision making. This paper demonstrates how simple, physically based, analyses can aid rational decision making in bridge design and suggests that such approaches could play a wider role in engineering courses. By way of illustration, these approaches are applied to the iconic, much copied, gravity balanced cable-stay Alamillo Bridge designed by Calatrava. This example also demonstrates the inefficiency of this bridge form and shows how such approaches, applied at an early design stage, could help bring rational engineering judgement back into bridge design at a time when the planet can ill afford such unsustainable solutions.

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          Most cited references3

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          Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell

          JC Maxwell (1890)
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            Santiago Calatrava’s Alamillo Bridge and the Idea of the Structural Engineer as Artist

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              Calatrava Bridges

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Bridge Engineering
                Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Bridge Engineering
                Thomas Telford Ltd.
                1478-4637
                1751-7664
                March 2019
                March 2019
                : 172
                : 1
                : 2-12
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering, University College London, London, UK ()
                Article
                10.1680/jbren.18.00037
                f12ad3d3-d72b-4056-b639-efcae6a9b109
                © 2019
                History

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