New Research Leads to Lighter and Greener Bridges


The past 60 years have not seen any fundamental change to the design of bridge decks for suspensions bridges – best known in Denmark from the Great Belt Link.

To accommodate the request for ever longer bridges, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and COWI, studied how to optimise structures to reduce the weight of the bridge deck, in particular increasing the span. Recently published in the recognised scientific magazine Nature Communications, the results of that research project indicate vast potential.

“We applied different methods for examining how to better utilise materials, which primarily consist of steel and concrete. Initially, we sought to optimise their use in traditional structures by using transverse diaphragms in the bridge deck, thereby achieving a theoretical weight reduction of up to 14 per cent,” says Mads Jacob Baandrup, who carried out the analyses in connection with his PhD project and today works as an engineer in COWI’s bridges department.

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