Expansion joint of a bridge

Expansion joint of a bridge

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Credit: MARK BURNETT/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Expansion joint of a bridge. Expansion joints are used to prevent damage due to thermal expansion of the bridge structure. As the bridge is heated by the sun, the components tend to expand. If the bridge was totally rigid, the components could buckle or deform - possibly leading to structural failure. This joint allows some expansion, the interlocking teeth ensuring that the gap can still be driven over safely.

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Keywords: architecture, bridge, bridge technology, bridges, effect, expansion joint, heat, thermal expansion

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