Physical Science

    10 - 12 Grades
This volume is part of the monograph series of the New Liberal Arts Program (1980-1992), a project of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The NLA Program had the goal of assisting in the introduction of quantitative reasoning and concepts of modern technology within liberal education. The Program was based on the conviction that college graduates should have been introduced to both areas if they are to live in the social mainstream and participate in the resolution of policy issues. The Center for Mathematics and Quantitative Education is delighted to make these monographs available.



Alfonso M. Albano, Bryn Mawr College
William Case, Grinnell College
Newton H.Copp, The Claremont Colleges

The three teaching units comprising this monograph focus on bridge engineering. They introduce students Lo the simplified formulas essential to understanding the dramatic forms possible with the new material of prestressed concrete. The formulas require nothing beyond high school mathematics and allow students to make the connection between physical behavior of Structures and their visual forms.

The authors have designed these units for use in courses aimed at Liberal Arts students; but engineering students would benefit from them as well especially as introductory units in courses which proceed to develop sophisticated modern methods of analysis for complex structures.

Each author has used the Structural Studies developed at Princeton by Robert Mark and David Billington. These units, extending and enriching those studies, are nevertheless independent and designed to be used on their own.

PART I Equilibrium in Structures
Alfonso M. Albano
Bryn Mawr College

Alfonso Albano's unit, used in an introductory physics laboratory at Bryn Mawr College, is the most basic and serves as a clear initial guide to the physical principles which are the primary elements of structural engineering. Bending moments of the Eiffel Tower and Cables and the George Washington Bridge are two of the examples he uses to explain these principles.

PART II New Forms in Long-Span Concrete Bridges
William Case
Grinnell College

William Case's unit, used as part of his full-term course on structures at Grinnell College, presents in simplif~ed form the ideas that generated two of the most impressive prestressed concrete bridges of the past twenty years -- the Felsenau and Ganter Bridges.

PART III Los Angeles Freeway Bridges
Newton H. Copp
The Claremont Colleges

Newton Copp's unit, serving as part of a course on science for the nonscientist at the Claremont Colleges, considers the more common case of highway overpasses especially in the context of the Los Angeles Freeway system; this applies well to the conditions around all major cities in the United States. His discussion includes such topics as bridge loading, bending moment calculations, and prestressing cables.

The mathematics is an application of basic algebra to calculate physical quantities as well as an application of vectors to describe force.