Often we see massive bridges with long steel cables gracing various cities around the world. Take the Brooklyn Bridge for example. With such heavyweight structures, it’s amazing how these cables manage to hold these towering pieces together.
It’s not just any cable that empowers these structures. They’re called a stay cable and they’ve been doing their jobs since 1883.
What’s a stay cable?
A stay cable originates from the roadway up to the high point of a tower, which bears all the weight of the steel cables.
While it may appear as if there’s only one cable for every strand that supports the entire deck, a stay cable is actually made up of a series of strands that is enclosed in plastic tubing.
To further understand how a stay cable works, think of a rope. Cut the rope halfway and you can see all its individual strands spurting out of the core. That’s mainly how this kind of cable operates.
Europe was the birthing place of stay cables. Right after World War II, engineers built bridges that utilized the technology of using such cables. But before that, it’s believed that simpler designs were already sketched back in the 16th century.
Cable-stayed bridges consider suspension bridges as their ancestors. From the suspension’s design came the stay cable’s innovations. The most popular examples of which are the Megyeri Bridge in Budapest, the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge in South England and Pont de Normandie— one of the world’s largest cable-stayed bridges.
How strong is a stay cable?
On average, every strand of an entire stay cable system can hold up to 25 tons of load. That’s what makes these strands so strong and capable, which in turn calls for greater demands of it in the industry.
What makes it so special?
There are a number of benefits cable-stayed bridges can provide. Here are some of them.
1. It’s flexible on carrying different amounts of weight.
Since each strand can hold 25 tons of load, think of how much weight these stay cables can carry. Be it a continuous flow of 4×4’s or a traffic of delivery trucks passing through, you can trust this system can accommodate varying weights.
2. It’s strong against corrosion.
Bridges need to compensate for their positioning. These structures are made to withstand marine environment since a big portion of them is submerged in water, which in turn threats for a significant amount of corrosion.
With cable-stayed bridges, you don’t need to worry about massive corrosion in a short amount of time. They are gifted with levels of protection against corrosion and can adapt to marine environment very well.
3. It’s faster to build.
Considering there are fewer cables to work with and a simpler design to execute, stay cable provides less time to build. This in turn would greatly benefit the areas where bridges are needed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
4. It saves money.
Possibly the best benefit stay cables can give contractors is that it’s cost-efficient. There are fewer steel cables to think about and it lessens the amount of time needed to put up a bridge.
Cable-stayed bridges have so far proven their worth to last a hundred, probably even thousands of years. Taking its strength and cost effectiveness, this technology will surely be around for a very long time.