May 12, 2007

sway



The wind-induced collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge occurred on November 7, 1940 11:00AM, due to a physical phenomenon known as mechanical resonance. From the account of Leonard Coatsworth, a driver stranded on the bridge during this event: "Just as I drove past the towers, the bridge began to sway violently from side to side. Before I realized it, the tilt became so violent that I lost control of the car... I jammed on the brakes and got out, only to be thrown onto my face against the curb... Around me I could hear concrete cracking... The car itself began to slide from side to side of the roadway.
On hands and knees most of the time, I crawled 500 yards [450 m] or more to the towers... My breath was coming in gasps; my knees were raw and bleeding, my hands bruised and swollen from gripping the concrete curb... Toward the last, I risked rising to my feet and running a few yards at a time... Safely back at the toll plaza, I saw the bridge in its final collapse and saw my car plunge into the Narrows."

2 comments:

Stretch said...

This is the most fascinating thing I have seen in a long time. What IS mechanical resonance?

You have forced me to investigate further.

I am truly engaged.

Anonymous said...

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