Engineering >> Civil & Environmental Engineering

Suspension Bridge

by Adrian Fisher


Submitted : Spring 2013

Cables are used in in the design of many modern day structures, including bridges, for stability, structure, and cost efficiency. In this project observations were made of the support cables of a suspension bridge by way of New York’s Verrazano Narrows Bridge which connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City. In analyzing the support cables of the suspension bridge, an equation was found and graphed to describe the parabolic shape of the main cables. The arc length of the main cable was found to determine the length of Verrazano Narrows Bridge’s main cable by using the arc length formula in conjunction with deriving the parabolic equation of the cables. Finally the magnitude of the tension in the main cable was found by using an equation for tension which included the minimum tension and load per unit length. The results yielded different observations and various conclusions that can be drawn on suspension bridges. A basic rectangular equation could be found to describe the basic parabolic shape of the main cable. Graphs made of the equation formed a parabola, mimicking the shape the main cable makes when in equilibrium. From this equation and some additional information an arc length could be determined, as well as the tensions and tangent lines.

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Advisors :
Arcadii Grinshpan, Mathematics and Statistics
Paul Bender, The Mico University College: Physics
Suggested By :
Derek Matthews
Suspension Bridge