15 Top Advantages and Disadvantages of Beam Bridge | Parts of the Beam Bridge | Types of Beam Bridge

15 Top Advantages and Disadvantages of Beam Bridge | Parts of the Beam Bridge | Types of Beam Bridge

Advantages and Disadvantages of Beam Bridge | Wooden Beam Bridges | Concrete Beam Bridges | Examples of Beam Bridges | Famous Beam Bridges

Beam Bridge

Beam bridges generally consist of beam that is put over the piers or supports. The beam should be strong enough to withstand the loads that are expected to be placed on it. The bridge piers bear these weights. Because of the stresses, the top edge of the beam is crushed, while the lower edge is stretched and under tension.

Beam bridges are one of the most common bridge types. A beam bridge is also called a girder, truss, or simply a beam.  They are made up of many beams (or girders) that span between two supports on each side, which could be piers or abutments.

The weight from the structure is then transferred to these supports and eventually down to the ground below via gravity.

Beams can be made out of steel, wood, or concrete, and they come in various shapes and sizes depending on their purpose; for example, some may have an I-beam shape while others may use more triangular-shaped beams like a truss bridge does, for instance.

A beam bridge consists of five main components: piers, abutments, decking, trusses, and stringers. A pier is an upright wall section that supports both ends below, while an abutment prevents soil erosion on either side.

The decking is the uppermost surface of the bridge, usually made of wood or concrete, which supports the structural elements and allows for easy passage across.

The trusses are between decking and abutments, providing support from above while forming a continuous structure.

Finally, the stringers are a series of beams that run horizontally to connect the framing members. They also help transfer structures weight to piers and abutments as well as form a smoother structural appearance.

Beam bridges can be constructed in various ways. They can be made up of wooden planks with steel beams in between them, they can be built out of concrete like a wood beam bridge, or they can be made out of steel girders alone (which is usually stronger than any other material).

Beam bridges are found in all parts of the world. They are most commonly used in rural areas where traffic is lighter, and they can span short distances with ease.

Their low cost and feasibility have made them an ideal option for many areas that were looking to build a bridge but did not have the funds or resources necessary to create a larger span.

Types of Beam Bridges

Most beam bridges are made up of girders, which are typically box girders, trusses, or I-beams that are supported by strong piers.

  • Box girders are stretched, box-shaped sections that are better suited to withstand twisting stresses.
  • Trusses are made up of one or more triangular components joined together at joints or nodes.
  • I-beams are inexpensive and straightforward to make. They’re just beams with an I- or H-shaped cross-section. The horizontal elements of the “I” design are flanges, while the vertical is the construction web.

Other types of beam bridges can be made from pre-stressed concrete beams. These materials have the steel properties to withstand tension loads and the concrete strength to withstand compression stresses.

The strength of the beam bridge is heavily determined by the distance between the piers. As a result, unless numerous beam bridges are linked together, beam bridges are usually not suited for extended lengths.

The beam bridge’s span is based upon the beam weight and the materials strength. The ability of the bridge to support loads rises as the bridge material thickens

Wooden Beam Bridges

Wooden beam bridges are the simplest and most popular type of beam bridge. They are mainly built from wood planks joined together by bolts and metal joints at each end.

The wood planks are then placed on top of a stronger beam that runs down the middle of the bridge. The wood and the beam itself will often contain metal plates and nails to help strengthen it further.

Wooden beam bridges are strong, but they do require frequent maintenance to keep them in good condition.

There are many different types of wooden beam bridges ranging from short spans to long spans. Bridges made from longer beams are called truss bridges and can often be seen in larger cities but are not as common in rural areas.

Wooden beam bridges are sometimes constructed with steel reinforcement to strengthen them more.

These reinforced wooden beam bridges usually consist of planks that have been strengthened somehow, except for the piers, which remain the same.

They can be designed to connect two buildings like an aerial tramway or support railroad tracks or bicycle paths, allowing for a smoother ride for cyclists.

Wooden beam bridges are light and easy to work with, but they are not as strong as reinforced concrete beams. Their flexibility makes them ideal for long spans, but their strength does diminish when the span is too great.

Concrete Beam Bridges

Concrete beam bridges consist of a wooden or concrete deck on top of steel beams that span from one abutment to the other.

The concrete is either poured over metal reinforcement or poured onto thin steel plates that have been fixed to the outside of concrete beams. The strength of a concrete beam bridge depends on the quality of the materials used and the type of concrete.

Wooden beam bridges and reinforced concrete beam bridges differ in terms of material choice, but they have similar shapes and structural appearances.

They consist primarily of two main components: beams and piers. The beams span between abutments made out of sand or cement, while piers are made out of metal bars suspended from them.

Parts of the Beam Bridge

1. Support system:

The beam bridge consists of supports which is where the heavyweight will be distributed to. Piers are the two main supports of beam bridges which are made out of concrete or reinforced concrete on each side.

They prevent soil erosion and can also act as an anchoring point for the bridge itself. The support system could consist of steel girders, wood planks, or even a combination of both materials.

2. Decking system:

The decking system is the level above the support system, which serves as a surface for pedestrians or vehicles to walk over.

It is usually made out of asphalt or wood planks fixed to thin steel beams that run through the entire bridge.

It acts as a pathway and is also used to support any additional parts carried by the bridge itself, including lighting, street signs, or even safety rails.

3. Truss system:

The truss system is the part of the bridge that helps transfer the bridge’s weight from the support system to the piers. It consists of a series of metal beams that are connected by plates and bolts.

Having a truss system allows for a continuous structure that makes up most of the beam bridges that can be found in cities.

The strength and appearance of a beam bridge can be changed by altering or adding to this truss system.

4. Stringers:

Stringers are also one of the main parts of a beam bridge that consists of wood beams that run horizontally to connect the wood deck. They also serve as an anchoring point for other parts such as lights, signs, and safety rails.

5. Piers:

The piers are the two main pillars of a bridge made out of reinforced concrete that is stronger than sand. It is used to support the beam system and anchor them to the abutments.

6. Abutment:

The abutments are the two sides of the bridge that are built into the ground and protect them from erosion. They can be made out of reinforced concrete or sand.

7. Fencing:

Fencing is the part of a beam bridge that separates the bridge from pedestrians and vehicles on either side of it. It can be made out of wood, wrought iron, chain link, or barbed wire, depending on where it is used and how much fencing is needed.

8. Railing:

The railing is the part of a bridge that protects the pedestrians from falling down or hurting themselves. It can be made out of wood, steel, aluminum, or wrought iron.

Examples of Beam Bridges.

  • Feiyunjiang Bridge: Span: 2,956 m (9,698 feet). Location: Ruian Shi, Wenzhou Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China
  • Manchac Swamp Bridge: Span: 36,690 m (120,374 feet). Location: Louisiana, USA.

Famous Beam Bridge

Donghai Bridge is a Chinese bridge that is one of the world’s longest cross-sea bridges and was completed on December 10, 2005.

It stretches 32.5 kilometers (20.2 miles) from mainland Shanghai’s Pudong New Area to the offshore Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Zhejiang’s Shengsi County.

The majority of the bridge consists of a low-level viaduct. There are also cable-stayed sections to allow huge ships to pass through, the longest of which has a span of 420 meters (1,380 ft). The Donghai Bridge is a section of the S2 Hulu Expressway.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Beam Bridge

Beam Bridge Advantages

  1. Beam bridges are quite simple and easy to construct.

Beam bridges are simple to build, thanks to the fact that they do not have much architectural detail on either end.

They can be built by placing two beams on top of a pier and reinforcing them if necessary. They are also supported by being driven into the ground or being connected to an existing structure such as a bridge or support beam.

  1. Beam bridges are easy to maintain and repair.

Because there are few architectural features on a beam bridge, it is easier for workers to access it unless protected by fencing or concrete barriers. It is also easier to mount safety rails which are usually placed along the outside of the bridge.

  1. Beam bridges can be designed in a variety of ways.

Side-by-side beams are the most common type of beam bridge that is built. I-Beams, box girders, and trusses are all examples of beams. They can be braced or half-through as well.

They are also not limited to a particular span. Concrete elements can be employed to strengthen the bridge. Some bridges, such as China’s Feiyunjiang Bridge, have viaducts with supported spans.

  1. Beam bridges are economical as compared to other types of bridges.

The beam bridge can be constructed by using simple materials for the beams such as wood, concrete, or metal. This makes it a cost-effective design and material choice as well.

  1. Beam bridges can retain their integrity even after natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

The majority of beam bridges are made out of wood which is naturally more resistant to moisture damage than other types of materials.

They are also made out of concrete or reinforced concrete with a minimum level of resistance against natural disasters.

  1. Beam bridges are highly durable and can last for hundreds of years

The beam bridges have high durability due to their simple design, which allows the materials to resist rust, rot, and other types of environmental damage that would affect the performance of the bridge.

Beam Bridge Disadvantages

  1. There are span limitations to beam bridges.

Although beam bridges are capable of spanning long distances, they are still constrained by their length. There is no set formula for the maximum span of a beam bridge, and it can vary according to the materials used.

The maximum span will be affected by the material used, its thickness, and weight. It could also be affected by the height of the supports, which could shift the center of gravity outward if they were too tall to compensate for the heavy load of traffic or equipment.

2.Beam bridges can be susceptible to sagging.

There are two types of factors that cause beam bridges to sag. The first is called hygric fatigue, which occurs due to the moisture in the materials used, which can cause rot, corrosion and rusting.

This occurs when a beam dries out and then becomes wet again, which would cause it to expand and contract, causing stress on the structure.

The second type is caused by thermal expansion or contraction, which would occur thanks to heat or cold.

  1. They weaken as they get older.

The moisture in materials and the effects of weather can make it weaker as time goes on. Water can seep into the beams making them become weaker and prone to breaking or splitting.

  1. Maintenance is necessary for all bridges, including beam bridges.

The maintenance of a bridge is necessary to ensure that its strength and durability are not compromised by weathering, rot, rust, or other factors that could cause it to weaken.

  1. Beam bridges offer fewer safety features than other types of bridges because of their simple construction.

Beam Bridge FAQs

  1. How do you build a beam bridge?

Beam bridges are built using a variety of materials. For example, they can be created using wood steel, or formed concrete that is poured over a form.

  1. How long does it take to build a beam bridge?

The length of time it takes to build a beam bridge would depend on the materials and the bridge’s design itself.

Small bridges would typically take less time to complete, while longer bridges could take months or even years to build.

  1. How much does a beam bridge cost?

The cost of beams bridges is usually contingent on the materials used to build them and the design needed for the bridge.

If simple materials are used, such as wood or concrete, it would be considerably less expensive than steel beams needed to support a much heavier traffic load. There would be more complex designs that could increase the costs of the beam bridge.

  1. What is a girder bridge?

A girder bridge is exactly what it sounds like. It is a steel beam supported on both sides by beams which connect them together.

  1. What does the I-Beam bridge look like?

I-Beams are beam bridges that use a half-column design where they are braced at the front and back with support beams. This type of design provides stability for both the supporting beams and the path of traffic on the bridge itself.

  1. How do I determine the length of a beam bridge?

It would be recommended for you to consult the engineer or the designer of a beam bridge to determine the length of your bridge.

This information is vital in order to add the necessary supports needed such as cables, metal beams, and other components to create a safe and strong bridge that will not sag over time or due to environmental factors such as rain, moisture, corrosion, etc.

  1. What are some advantages of a beam bridge?

Some of the primary advantages that beam bridges have over other types of bridges are that they require less maintenance, are inexpensive to build, and are highly durable.

  1. What are some disadvantages of a beam bridge?

The major disadvantage of a beam bridge is its inability to span large distances. Another disadvantage would be beam bridges may start to sag due to excessive loads. and height of the supports required for the roadway and traffic needs of the area.

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