Steel Stress-Ribbon Concept — Will It Save Money—

by Robert J. Wheen, Lect. in Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Sydney, School of Civ. Engrg., Sydney, Australia,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1976, Vol. 46, Issue 5, Pg. 74-75

Document Type: Feature article


The stress ribbon structure, a fairly new and unusual concept, can be built with central sags of less than 2% of the span length using currently available materials and technology. Possibilities exist such as offshore conveyor belt structures, suspended pipeline bridges, longspan roofs and highway bridges. Cost savings up to as much as 40% are predicted, provided special necessary site conditions are met. Construction is simple and follows the basic plan for suspension bridges. (1) Construct tensioning anchorages at each abutment; (2) string high tensile steel tendons between the abutments and tension them; (3) erect and join steel deck segments, directly supported at the tendons; and (4) adjust the tension forces in the deck and the tendons to their optimum levels. As opposed to suspension bridges, however, where the cables carry the load, in stress ribbon, by tensioning the cables and the deck between the abutments, the deck shares the axial tension forces. Anchorage forces are unusually large since the structure is tightly tensioned.

Subject Headings: Tension members | Ultimate strength | Bridge decks | Suspension bridges | Bridge abutments | Highway bridges | Steel construction | Steel bridges

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