Everyday Science: Bridge Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Chances are, if you've done even the slightest bit of traveling, you've crossed your fair share of bridges. These feats of engineering can span anything from a trickling stream to a raging river. Can you cross the bridge quiz without falling?

The distance between two bridge supports is called the:

Bridges are differentiated by the distance they can cross, also known as their span.


Which of the following is not one of the two major forces bridges deal with?

Compression is a force that acts to compress or shorten the object it's acting on; tension is a force that acts to expand or lengthen the object it's acting on. These are the two main forces that bridges must contend with.


What determines the distance a beam bridge can span?

The size of the beam (in particular its height), controls the distance that the beam can span.


What can be added to make beams taller?

Supporting lattice work, or a truss, adds rigidity to the existing beam, greatly increasing its ability to dissipate the compression and tension.


What gives an arch bridge its strength?

Due to their curved shape, arch bridges don't need any additional supports or cables; they're naturally strong bridge structures.


Which part of a suspension bridge receives the most compression?

A suspension bridge's cables transfer the bulk of the compression to the towers, which dissipate the compression directly into the earth where they're buried.


Tension acts primarily on which part of a suspension bridge?

The supporting cables running between the bridge's two anchorages receive most of the tension. They're literally stretched from the weight of the bridge and its traffic.


What purpose do bridge dampeners serve?

Dampeners help to mitigate the resonance, or vibrating, effect in bridges. They interrupt any resonant waves that form and prevent them from growing.


What force is responsible for most bridge failures?

While the danger of other forces has been largely eliminated through better design, weather forces are much harder to combat.


The rotational or twisting force that bridges face is called:

Torsion has been eliminated in most bridges, but larger suspension bridges can still be affected by it because of the fact that they're suspended and vulnerable to strong winds.


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