9 Key Warren Truss Bridge Advantages and Disadvantages | Pratt Truss vs. Warren Truss

9 Key Warren Truss Bridge Advantages and Disadvantages | Pratt Truss vs. Warren Truss

What is Warren Truss? | Warren Truss Bridge Advantages and Disadvantages | Applications & Uses of Warren Truss  | Warren Truss Span |Warren Truss Pros and Cons

What is Warren Truss?

The Warren truss, invented by James Warren and Willoughby Theobald Monzani in 1848, is made up of longitudinal members linked only by angled cross-members that create successively inverted equilateral triangle-shaped sections along its length.

This ensures that no single strut, beam, or tie is subjected to bending or torsional straining pressures, just tension or compression.

Loads on the diagonals vary between compression and tension, as they approach the center, with no vertical elements, but parts in the center must withstand both tension and compression in response to live loads.

This form combines strength with material economy and can thus be quite light. Because the girders are all the same length, it is perfect for use in prefabricated modular bridges.

It is superior to the Neville truss, which uses an isosceles triangle spacing design.

With this design, you can easily achieve significantly greater strength than with conventional bridge designs. Engineers have reported using significantly less material in the building of truss bridges.

The span, or distance between the end points, has been shown to be higher than in other designs, particularly single beam designs.

The major reason it was so popular in the nineteenth century was that it is very easy to maintain and has few flaws. It is also easy to repair and does not require a lot of labor or man hours.

You may construct a truss and then use it to construct a bridge, making it particularly helpful for road and railway bridges.

Warren Truss Bridge Design

The Warren truss bridge design includes an interior railing that is connected to the diagonal span, preventing people from falling off the edge of the bridge.

The truss makes use of Newton’s principles of motion, particularly statics, which is a key aspect of the laws. The straight components will meet at pin joints, and the truss components will be in tension or compression.

Because of the usage of triangles, a bridge built utilizing this design is exceptionally robust. The triangles are ridged, which adds to the structure’s strength.

Warren Truss Bridge Design


A Warren truss bridge distributes forces in a variety of ways. This has resulted in a wide range of bridge construction methods. Bridges of various designs can be seen all over the world.

This bridge makes the best use of labor and machinery. Material costs may be reduced as well because the design makes the best use of available resources.

The design can be utilized to improve the appearance of a structure and boost its attractiveness to suit its surroundings, depending on the objective.

The truss design blends itself well to modern engineering approaches. Prestressed concrete and numerous fabrication methods can be employed with it. This design can also be used to automate welding.

Warren Truss Bridge Advantages and Disadvantages

Warren Truss Bridge Advantages

  • One of the primary benefits of a Warren Truss is its capacity to distribute load uniformly across a number of different members; however, this is typically used when the structure is subjected to a distributed load.
  • The Warren truss design has ridged triangles, which makes it extremely sturdy.
  • Warren truss bridges may be built piece by piece, which reduces the cost over traditional ones, which require the full framework to be put up before building. This also expands the number of ways the bridge can be created, allowing access to a wider range of designs.
  • Warren truss bridges take less material to construct than most other bridge designs.
  • Because the bridge is open, the view is not obstructed.

Warren Truss Bridge Advantages

  • A lot of material can be lost if the bridge is not well planned, because some of the elements will not contribute to the bridge in any manner.
  • Bridges built over a lengthy span may have several deflection problems that must be rectified during the construction phase.
  • Estimating load-bearing capability of Warren truss bridge can be difficult.
  • A Warren truss bridge’s joints and fittings must be tested on a regular basis, and maintenance can be costly.
  • Many people find these bridges to be visually unappealing.

Warren Truss Vs. Neville Truss

To distribute the weights on the bridge, the Warren Truss uses equilateral triangles. In contrast, the Neville Truss uses isosceles triangles.

The pressures in   Warren Trusses are reduced to compression and tension in equilateral triangles. Surprisingly, as a load (such as a car or train) moves across the bridge, the forces acting on a member might shift from compression to tension. This is especially true for members near the bridge’s center.

Pratt Truss vs. Warren Truss

What are the differences between Warren Truss and Pratt Truss?

The Warren truss is made out of isosceles or equilateral triangles. Verticals for Warren Truss are installed to enhance the span length of the truss bridge.

The diagonal members of a Pratt truss (excluding the end diagonals) are slanted down towards the middle of the bridge span.

When subjected to external loads, tension is created in diagonal members, whereas compressive pressures are dealt with by vertical members.

As a result, thinner and lighter steel or iron can be utilized for diagonal members, resulting in a more efficient structure.

Warren Truss Bridge Design FAQs

1. How does Warren Truss Design Spread the Load?

The Warren truss design spreads the load on the bridge by using equilateral triangles in the framework.

The force of the load is limited by these triangles to compression and tension of the bridge sections.

The upper and bottom horizontal regions of the image, as well as the diagonals in the middle, are under tension, while the outer diagonals are compressed.

Engineers may add vertical beams splitting each triangle in the center if the upper portions of the bridge are not rigid enough.

This keeps the bridge from buckling under load. A subdivided Warren truss bridge is one such design.

Other designs include the Double Warren, which has intersecting triangle portions that seem like diamond shapes, and the quadrangular Warren truss bridge, which has several diagonal ridges that look like nets.

 2. Why is the Warren truss bridge so strong?

Because of the interconnected triangle structure, truss bridges have a massive load-bearing capability.

By distributing the load from the roadway across its sophisticated construction, the structure effectively manages both compression and tension.
3. Which bridge is stronger, the Howe truss or the Warren truss?

A Warren truss is an efficient form that is commonly used nowadays, particularly in steel because steel is good in both tension and compression.

The Howe truss is a nineteenth-century design that combines compression wood members with tension iron rods.

Its advantage was that it made the best use of inexpensive wood while using the least amount of pricey iron.

Its downside was its intricacy, which meant that as steel replaced iron and became more widely available, steel trusses rendered the Howe truss obsolete.

4. How far can a Warren Truss span?

The Warren truss is the most extensively used nowadays. Truss bridges typically have a span length of 50 to 110 meters, but the Quebec Bridge, Canada; 1917, is the world’s longest truss bridge, with a span length of 549 meters.

5. What is a Warren truss used for?

A Warren truss is a form of structure used to sustain a load in various construction applications. Trusses are structural elements used by architects and engineers in both residential and public works architecture.

The Warren truss is frequently used in bridge construction by professional designers.

6. What are the disadvantages of the Warren truss type?

A Warren truss bridge’s joints and fittings must be tested on a regular basis, and maintenance can be costly.

Bridges built over a lengthy span may have several deflection problems that must be rectified during the construction phase. Calculating load-bearing capability can be difficult.

7. Is the Warren truss a good choice for highway traffic?

A Warren truss works well with highway traffic because it can handle heavy loads while providing good visibility for drivers. It is a commonly used design in modern highway bridges.

8. What kind of load can a Warren Truss bear?

Trusses are ideal for bearing heavy loads, and also not limit the span length. The Quebec bridge has a span length of more than 549 meters, and is considered as one of the longest truss bridges in the world.

9. What are the Warren Truss pros and cons?

For its practical advantage in heavy load distribution and uses triangular members to support a bridge, forming a lattice of supporting triangulated members.

Warren truss is also the most commonly used bridge design. The disadvantage is that it is relatively costly in maintenance and construction.

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