Category: Bridges

Bridge Book Update


The bridge book – otherwise known as The Science of Bridges – Stunning Successes and Fantastic Failures of Spanning Structures – is nearing completion! You will know when it’s been submitted because there will be a huge fireworks display from down around Bethesda!  

New Tappan Zee Bridge

Bridges Icon

Who doesn’t love a bridge? They span a space and bring people safely from one side to the other. They work in all types of weather. They are forms of art and function rolled into one. New York is getting a new Hudson River crossing. This could get interesting.

Forces at Work: Cantilever Bridges

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Cantilever bridges are subject to the two basic forces that are in effect for all bridges. These forces are compression and tension. In a cantilever bridge, with the space between the cantilevered portion spanned by a suspended deck, the compression and tension are straightforward. As you can see in this diagram above, from Merriam-Webster, a […]

Types of Bridges: Cantilever

Cantilever Bridge

There are four main types of bridges. The cantilever bridge is one type. It gets its name because it is built using cantilevers – horizontal structures that are supported on only one end. (Think diving board.) With a cantilever bridge, there is a structure that supports one end of the deck. This deck structure can […]

Forces at Work: Beam Bridges

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Beam bridges are subject to the two basic forces that are in effect for all bridges. These forces are compression and tension. These forces are at work in a beam bridge in an arguably more direct manner than in other bridges. With a beam bridge, with its single deck, the deck itself is subject to […]

Types of Bridges: Suspension


One of the four main types of bridges is the suspension bridge. These bridges are generally long and somewhat imposing. The towers that are essential to the structural integrity of these bridges loom large. They make these spanning structures hard to miss. The towers are not just for effect. They are the support for the […]

Types of Bridges: Beam

Beam Bridge

You may not ever have given it any thought – BUT – did you know there are four main types of bridges? One is the beam bridge. If you picture a fallen log across a stream, brook, or river, you are picturing a beam bridge at its simplest. As you picture this fallen log turned […]

Bridge Book


I’ve been having a splendid time researching my book on the science of bridges. My most recent research has been into spectacular bridge failures. I have to say, I will be looking at bridges in an entirely new way from now on – which is not a good thing, but an inevitable part of my job. […]

Nanotechnology: History


The capability to magnify objects by a factor of up to one million was made possible with the invention of the first transmission electron microscope (TEM) by German scientists Ernst Ruska and Max Knoll in 1931.With the TEM, it was finally possible to view things at the molecular level. Studies were made of the proteins that make up the human body. Metals were also studied. The TEM made all of this possible by focusing a beam of electrons to pass through an object, rather than by focusing light on the object as was done with traditional microscopes. Particles smaller than 200 nm were able to be viewed.

Nanotechnology: Why Bother?


You can tell a lot about an element from its position on the Periodic Table. In fact, the periodic table is designed to make information about the chemical properties of an element readily available. So all you need is the periodic table. Right? Not exactly. The periodic table tells you all about an element at the conventional scale. When you’re looking at an element at the nanoscale, things can change.

My Book is Out!


Modeling Ships and Space Craft: The Science and Art of Mastering the Oceans and Sky begins with the theories of Aristotle and Archimedes, moving on to examine the work of Froude and Taylor, the early aviators and the Wright Brothers, Goddard and the other rocket men, and the computational fluid dynamic models of our time. It examines the ways each used fluid dynamic principles in the design of their vessels.