Is it a bird, is it a plane, no it's a bridge!

Apr 01, 2008
Is it a bird, is it a plane, no it's a bridge
The bridge being moved at the National Physical Laboratory. Credit: NPL

A government lab in Teddington has taken on its biggest sample for analysis to date – a 14 tonne foot-bridge.

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards, science and technology. For over 100 years it has been the UK’s National Measurement Institute and provides highly accurate measurement and analysis for public and private sector benefit alike.

The "sample" was a 14 tonne footbridge that is 20 metres long and 5 metres high and has been used to allow access from one side of the NPL site to the other for the last 46 years. With redevelopment of the NPL site this bridge has become redundant. Rather than demolish the bridge, and in the spirit of recycling, NPL scientists have used this unique opportunity to run a project using the old bridge to improve civil engineering structures.

Before this could begin the small matter of needing to move the massive bridge across the site away from the demolition zone needed to be addressed. Moving such a structure is unusual and was expertly carried out by Burton Smith and Beck and Pollitzer who used a 250 tonne capacity crane that extended nearly 50 metres into the sky.

After lifting the bridge it was then trailered across the NPL site, with essential co-operation from LGC, taking an hour to travel the quarter mile earlier this year, squeezing around tight turns and under trees before being lifted above existing buildings to its final resting place.

The bridge will be used as a demonstrator to try out different techniques for monitoring structures for a government project to encourage UK industry and UK infrastructure to use monitoring to maximise the lifetime and minimise maintenance costs for civil engineering structures.

During the three year project the bridge will be loaded until it cracks, repaired using new composite repair methods and then retested. The opportunity to have a large scale structure that can be abused in this way whilst being monitored is a once in a lifetime event and will provide evidence for the cost saving benefits of structural health monitoring.

Source: National Physical Laboratory

Explore further: Femto-snapshots of reaction kinetics: Bonding behavior of iron pentacarbonyl experimentally decoded

Related Stories

Solar Impulse departs Myanmar for China

7 hours ago

Solar Impulse 2 took off from Myanmar's second biggest city of Mandalay early Monday and headed for China's Chongqing, the fifth flight of a landmark journey to circumnavigate the globe powered solely by ...

DARPA seeks new positioning, navigation, timing solutions

Mar 28, 2015

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), writing about GPS, said: "The military relies heavily on the Global Positioning System (GPS) for positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT), but GPS access is easily blocked by methods such as jamming. In addition, many environments in which our mil ...

Recommended for you

CERN researchers confirm existence of the Force

17 hours ago

Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider just recently started testing the accelerator for running at the higher energy of 13 TeV, and already they have found new insights into the fundamental structure ...

Soft, energy-efficient robotic wings

Mar 31, 2015

Dielectric elastomers are novel materials for making actuators or motors with soft and lightweight properties that can undergo large active deformations with high-energy conversion efficiencies. This has ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.