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Thinking Too Much
Jul 21 '13

The Mathematical Bridge - Cambridge, UK.

The arrangement of timbers is a series of tangents that describe the arc of the bridge, with radial members to tie the tangents together and triangulate the structure, making it rigid and self-supporting. This type of structure, technically tangent and radial trussing, is an efficient structural use of timber, and was also used for the timber supporting arches (centring) used for building stone bridges. Analysis of the design shows that the radial timbers are almost entirely subject to compression with very little bending stress, or to put it another way, the radial lines elegantly express the forces involved in arched construction.