Island 2 Exploring Virtual Bridge Design With Bridge Designer

Mechanics and Structures

POP students will learn  about different types of bridges and how they are engineered for strength. Then begin exploring virtual bridge design with Bridge Designer.


Island 2 Exploring Virtual Bridge Design With Bridge Designer

POP students are challenged to use Bridge Designer to engineer a cost-effective truss bridge that will support a two-lane highway across the Red River in Texas.

Designing A Bridge

The City of Dallas is expanding its planning department to meet the growing needs of the city. They are hiring a structural engineer, who will be responsible for designing a bridge to meet the needs of their growing infrastructure. POP students are among the final candidates! The problem is that the last tax increase did not get approved and now they have to build the bridge with a smaller budget. How will they design a bridge that is safe, sturdy, and within the budgeted amount? 

What Is A Bridge?

A bridge is a structure that spans a landform in order to provide passage over an obstacle.

  • They can cross a variety of landforms, such as valleys or crevasses, streets, and bodies of water (rivers or lakes).

  • They can be built to accommodate many loads, including cars, pedestrians, trains, bikes, and animals.

  • There are many different types of bridges. The chosen design depends on several factors:

    • The length needed

    • Whether it crosses over water, a valley, a street, or some other obstacle

    • Available materials

    • General location

    • Potential maintenance

Types of Bridges

Bridge types generally fall into four categories: 1) Beam, 2) Truss, 3) Suspension, and 4) Arch

Beam bridges are used for a span of less than 250 feet. They are made of a deck supported by piers.

Truss bridges are made up of a framework of beams in the form of a triangle that work to form a rigid structure.

Suspension bridges have a bridge deck held up by cables. 

Arch bridges offer natural strength and are some of the oldest functioning bridges in the world.