Tacoma Narrows Bridge (1940)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a suspension bridge in the U.S. state of Washington.

Construction on the bridge began in September 1938. From the time the deck was built, it began to move vertically in windy conditions, which led to construction workers giving the bridge the nickname Galloping Gertie. The motion was observed even when the bridge opened to the public. Several measures aimed at stopping the motion were ineffective, and the bridge's main span finally collapsed under 40 mph wind conditions the morning of November 7, 1940.

The bridge's collapse had a lasting effect on science and engineering. In many physics textbooks, the event is presented as an example of elementary forced resonance with the wind providing an external periodic frequency that matched the bridge's natural structural frequency, though the actual cause of failure was aeroelastic flutter. Its failure also boosted research in the field of bridge aerodynamics-aeroelastics, the study of which has influenced the designs of all the world's great long-span bridges built since 1940.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tacoma Narrows Bridge (1940)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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