Structural Engineering, Bridge Research, Programming, and more…

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Back up at last!

25 April, 2015 (05:52) | General | No comments

So this website disappeared for a while, as you may have noticed. In July 2013 I moved to Australia, to the Department of Civil Engineering at Monash University in Melbourne – see me here. It’s been a very busy time since then, and the website got lost in the mix. I’m really pleased to have sorted it out now, and look forward to posting regular updates on all things engineering, bridges, and teaching, as in the past.

I also moved host to allow for unlimited bandwidth, and so this means I can continue to share my lecture notes. In the past I had to stop this because of massive download traffic!

Here’s a pic of the West Gate Bridge – probably the most famous bridge around Melbourne. In a way, this is why I’m here!

West Gate Bridge enjoying a typical Melbourne sunset

Journal paper published – footbridge vibration

16 April, 2012 (20:47) | Engineering, Research | No comments

The paper Enhancement factors for the vertical response of footbridges subjected to stochastic crowd loading has been published in the prestigious Computers & Structures journal. This has an impact factor of 1.719 for 2010.

This paper proposes a method of determining statistical enhancement factors to apply to single pedestrian responses to obtain corresponding crowd-induced vibration responses.

The full reference for the paper is:

Caprani, C.C., Keogh, J., Archbold, P. and Fanning, P. (2012), ‘Enhancement factors for the vertical response of footbridges subjected to stochastic crowd loading’, Computers & Structures, in press.

And it is available from:


The vertical acceleration response of a hypothetical footbridge is predicted for a sample of single pedestrians and a crowd of pedestrians using a probabilistic approach. This approach uses statistical distributions to account for the fact that pedestrian parameters are not identical for all pedestrians. Enhancement factors are proposed for predicting the response due to a crowd based on the predicted accelerations of a single pedestrian. The significant contribution of this work is the generation of response curves identifying enhancement factors for a range of crowd densities and synchronization levels.

Spaghetti Bridge World Record

2 December, 2011 (13:22) | General | 1 comment

The video of spaghetti bridge world record test is below. The bridge weighed 0.982 kg and held 443.58 kg before failing spectacularly. This is an amazing strength-to-weight ratio of almost 452 and beat the previous world record by 92 kg. It was built by two Hungarian students, Aliz Totivan and Norbert Pozsonyi and tested at the 2009 Spaghetti Bridge Championships held at Okanagan College’s Kelowna, B.C., Canada.

The construction of the bridge is extremely good. Every connection and member is in perfect position, and this means that load paths are equally distributed. As we in DIT have learned from our Spaghetti Bridge tests, it is often the best constructed bridge, and not necessarily the best design that wins.

The importance of units

21 October, 2011 (21:47) | General | No comments

There are some quite serious sites that point out the importance of units in engineering calculations, but a less serious result of an error is the guy who got the wrong slipper!

See the news report here.

Nonlinear beam behaviour example

3 October, 2011 (22:19) | General | No comments

This shows the deflection and bending moment history of a propped cantilever loaded with a point load at mid-span. The beam has a plastic moment capacity of 100 kNm and a shape factor of 1.12. A strain hardening modulus of 2% of the modulus of elasticity is used.

The model is based on that given in Advanced Analysis and Design of Steel Frames by Li and Li, Wiley 2007.

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