The collapse of Tacoma Narrows Bridge: a piece to the puzzle

Research output: Research - peer-reviewConference abstract for conference – Annual report year: 2017


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On Nov. 7th 1940 the newly constructed Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed due to excessive torsional oscillations caused by the formation and shedding of large coherent vortices. The subsequent wind tunnel tests conducted on both section- and full bridge models concluded that the bridge should have collapsed at a wind speed corresponding to approximately half of the wind speed at the day of the collapse. This discrepancy questions our understanding of the phenomena responsible for the failure of the bridge. The present study aims at clarifying this "mystery" by considering historical records made available by the US coast guards, and by performing wind tunnel tests and detailed numerical ow simulations.Our findings indicate that the discrepancy is caused by an until now unnoticed yawed wind direction relative to the bridge, which was present at the day of the collapse.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2017
Event70th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD17) - Denver, United States
Duration: 19 Nov 201721 Nov 2017


Conference70th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD17)
CountryUnited States
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ID: 139802720