The Origins of Reinforced Concrete: Robert Maillart

Description: Themes: Role of reinforced concrete in Robert Maillart's famous works; Maillart's early evolution of form: Stauffacher, Zuoz, Tavanasa, and Salginatobel bridges; Maillart's process of improvement on his structures throughout his career.

Learning Objectives: Students should be able to: Define reinforced concrete; Describe Maillart's evolution (imitation, innovation, inspiration) of the three-hinged hollow-box arch form; Define the deck-stiffened arch form and illustrate examples of these bridges; Describe the evolution of smooth to 'broken' three-hinged hollow-box arch forms and the 'play' of cross walls; Describe the key weakness of concrete as a building material, and explain how reinforced concrete overcomes this weakness; Contrast the structural properties of concrete and steel and explain how the materials work together to increase strength in reinforced concrete; Predict where to place the steel bars in a reinforced concrete bar used as a beam, and as a horizontal cantilever; Trace the influence of the teacher Wilhelm Ritter on Robert Maillart and Othmar Ammann (see also lecture on Ammann); Describe the social, scientific, and symbolic aspects of the Salginatobel Bridge; Trace the evolution of Robert Maillart through stages of imitation, innovation, and inspiration with examples of bridges at each stage.

Keywords reinforced concrete, Maillart, Ritter, arched bridge, deck-stiffened arched bridge, 3 hinged arch bridge, ductile, brittle, tension, compression, discipline and play, evolution of structural artist, Stauffacher Bridge, Zuoz Bridge, Tavanasa Bridge, Salginatobel Bridge, Schwandbach Bridge, Valtsschielbach Bridge, Felsegg Bridge, Vessey Bridge

Categories: Structural EngineeringPrinceton University, Bridges

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