Types of Bridges

There are SO many types of bridges, both natural and man-made! Do you know all the different variations? Let's learn about some of the most popular types of man-made bridges!



Arch Bridge

Arch Bridges use an arch shape under the bridge to support it. The downward compression on the materials keeps the bridges standing tall.


Beam Bridge This bridge type features beams running perpendicular to the bridge with poles straight down to support the bridge. These are the simplest bridges to build but they typically don't last long in comparison to other bridge types.


Cantilever Bridge This design is beautiful to look at and quite complex to build. The benefit of these bridges is that they don't disrupt water traffic since they stand pretty tall. This bridge design doesn't hold up well in areas with earthquakes or extreme weather!


Cable-Stayed Bridge

Cable bridges bring a beautiful design to an area. This bridge is supported by cables that can be prone to erode in extreme weather. They are best used for short distances.



Suspension Bridge Most commonly seen as the Golden Gate Bridge, this bridge design is great for going long distances without support underneath. This design has large tower-like structures which have cables connecting to the bridge. This support from above allows fewer stands underneath so water traffic isn't disturbed.


Tied-Arch Bridge This design combines an arch bridge with a suspension bridge. However, this time, the arches are above the bridge, and cables are used to secure the bridge to the arches.



Truss Bridge Truss Bridges often have triangular-shaped supports on each side and across the top. It feels similar to going through a tunnel. This tunnel design has a lot of benefits, however, it must be perfectly constructed to ensure all weight is distributed evenly!


To read more about the engineering of each bridge type, check out this article from Engineering Clicks!


There are so many more different bridge designs, each with its own pros and cons. We love learning about bridges and including them in our activities because they are great for learning more about problem-solving, engineering, and are fun to build!


Want to learn more about bridges hands-on? Take a look at our February STEM Kit or our "Bridges" Elite STEM Kit made for kids in 6th-8th grade!


 

Our hands-on learning STEM Subscription Box will not disappoint! GIGIL STEM Kits are a great opportunity to bring STEM Education home in a fun and interactive way. Did you know GIGIL STEM Kits accept charter funds? If you'd like us to apply to become a vendor for your charter school, email us at hello@gigilstemkits.com!

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