Cables in Trouble

by Stewart C. Watson, Pres.; Kinematics, East Amherst, NY,
David G. Stafford, Pres.; Watson Stafford Assoc., Williamsville, NY,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 4, Pg. 38-41

Document Type: Feature article


Having inspected more than half of the world's cable stayed bridges, the authors conclude that many are in danger of sudden collapse unless corrosion problems can be stopped. Water, airborne moisture and contaminants, sustained tensile stress, composition of high strength steel and electrochemical potential all contribute to corrosion. Other factors hasten its onset and intensifies its effects: vibration from wind and live loads, internal abrasion, elongation, creep and cable relaxation. Various methods are being tried by design engineers to prevent such corrosion and at least one bridge, Florida's Sunshine Skyway, has been instrumented to monitor movements that could signal distress in the cables or superstructure.

Subject Headings: Cables | Cable stayed bridges | Corrosion | Bridge design | High-strength steel | Load factors | Wind loads | Bridge failures

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