How Did the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse?

Farquharson continued wind tunnel tests. He concluded that the “cumulative effected of undampened rhythmic forces” had produced “intense resonant oscillation.” in other words, the bridge’s lightness, combined with an accumulation of wind pressure on the 8-foot solid plate girder and deck, caused the bridge to fail.

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse of 1940 remains one of the most notorious engineering blunders in history. Located in Washington State, the bridge was the third longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its construction.

The bridge was designed by the renowned engineer, Leon Moisseiff, and its deck was suspended from two main cables.

On November 7, 1940, the bridge collapse for reasons that are still debated by engineers and historians. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was an engineering marvel when it opened in July of 1940.

Its long, slender deck and wide span garnered it the nicknameGalloping Gertie due to its oscillations in the wind. On the morning of November 7, 1940, the bridge began to sway at an alarming rate due to a phenomenon known asaeroelastic flutter.

The oscillations of the bridge increased in intensity and soon the bridge began to break apart, eventually plunging into the Narrows below.

The reasons for the collapse are still debated today. Many engineers believe that the bridge was simply too flexible, and that its deck was not stable enough to withstand the strong winds of the Puget Sound. Others contend that the bridge was designed with an inadequate

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