Ted V. Galambos

Professor Emeritus, Structural Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

The Safety of Bridges
(click to view video)

Friday, April 20th, 2012 – 4:10 pm

Location: Sinclair Lab Auditorium, Lehigh University, 7 Asa Drive, Bethlehem, PA

Theodore (Ted) V. Galambos, Professor Emeritus, Structural Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN: Theodore (Ted) V. Galambos is emeritus professor of structural engineering in the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. He received the BSCE and MSCE degrees from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks in 1953 and 1954, respectively, and the Ph. D. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA in 1959. He had an academic research and teaching career at Lehigh University (1959 – 1965), at Washington University in Saint Louis (1965 – 1981) and at the University of Minnesota. His research areas are: the behavior and design of steel structures, the reliability of structures, structural design standards, and the stability of steel structures. He is author of several technical books and of scores of published articles. He is an honorary member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Structural Stability Research Council and the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in Minnesota, and Missouri. He holds honorary doctorates from the Technical University of Budapest, the University of North Dakota, and the University of Minnesota. He is one of the 2002 recipients of the ASCE OPAL Award.

The Safety of Bridges: The nation’s interest in the safety of bridges was suddenly reignited by the catastrophic collapse of the I35W Bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis on August 1, 2007. This presentation will focus on the general causes of bridge failures and on how they can be prevented. Most accidents happen during construction, but less frequently collapses also occurred after many years of service. The most terrible events are when a bridge after many years suddenly disintegrates. Examples of both construction and long service failures will be presented. Examples of construction failures to be considered are the Quebec Bridge in Canada and the Yarra River Crossing in Australia. The Firth of Tay Bridge in Scotland, the Point Pleasant Bridge over the Ohio River, and the Minneapolis Bridge disasters will illustrate events on bridges that were in service. Similarities and differences of these sudden failures will be discussed. Lessons learned and recommendations for preventive actions will then be presented. The main conclusion of the talk will be that the seeds of destruction were sowed already at the initial planning stages of design. Sudden and complete bridge failures are very rare events, fortunately, and the engineering profession has the means to make the probability of failure even smaller.

The Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series has been initiated and organized by Dan M. Frangopol, the first holder of Lehigh's Fazlur Rahman Khan Endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture.

The Dendrite and Graphite of a Grey Cast Iron Structure