The suspension bridge is a piece of architectural infrastructure that has changed the landscape of many great cities across the globe. They are always a landmark wherever they are. The technical definition of a suspension bridge is a bridge that has the load bearing section hung between suspension cables that attach to vertical suspenders.
Suspension bridges use stainless steel structural rod systems in their design and implementation. These structural rod systems are used because they are resilient, are durable and have a contemporary look.
The suspension bridge design was historically used to connect mountainous areas together to provide a safe route for easy transit. The suspension cables must be anchored at each end of the bridge as any load on the bridge will place a great deal of tension on these main cables. This deck is also supported by vertical stainless steel rods which are sometimes called hangers. In some instances however dependent on landscape, it is more sensible to allow the towers to sit on a canyon edge.
These structural rod systems in use for suspension bridges rely a lot on science to ensure the weights and measurements are correct and take intelligent planning and implementation. The rods are the primary load carrying element and their correct application is pivotal.
Although now a staple part of modern architecture and often a post card favourite; suspension bridges and the rod systems that support them actually date back to antiquity. Their origins are perceived to be China or South America where mountainous terrain lead to the innovation of the structures we see so commonly today.
Stainless steel and other metals such as iron for the chains were also first used in this way in China to cross rivers and gorges with wooden planks as the base. South American structures were usually based on non-metallic parts.
The first metallic suspension bridge to use steel rod systems on the continent was in Germany in 1734 and wasn’t followed by America, where we see some of the most architecture using stainless steel rod systems in suspension bridges, until 1801. Suspension bridges are a popular structure with architects both for function and form. [/su_column]