& Scope

Bridges…are all about interlinking and connectivity

From the very beginning structural art has always been of prime importance to the cultures of societies. Besides the historical marvels as ziggurats of Mesopotamia, pyramids of ancient Egypt, acropolises and theatres of ancient Aegean civilizations, bridges, aqueducts of Romans, cathedrals of medieval Christianity, great mosques of Islamic culture, yurds of nomads and thatching techniques of the primitive cultures as well as wooden structures of far eastern cultures should equally and easily be mentioned under this context.

In the course of time there has always been urges for mankind, communities to connect themselves with other places and people and attempt to overcome difficulties exposed by the natural and/or manmade environment, spanning and traversing over certain obstacles such as rivers, valleys, constructional objects and others. The simple solution was “Bridge”. Gradually the distances that seemed impossible to encompass began to get achieved by the development of diverse Technologies on design, construction and material production fields.

Bridges have fascinated mankind over time. They have been symbols of art and science, good architecture, engineering and trade skill. They have also symbolized links between people, communities, and nations. Strategic and tactical bridges have been of importance for exercising power. Bridge building has therefore been a high-ranked profession. First bridges were stone and wooden bridges, including natural bridges, single stone plates, rope bridges and wooden beams crossing a brook. Up to the eighteenth century, the building of bridges was a typical skilled trade, based on experience of generations. The people involved had developed an admirable understanding of the forces of nature. On the basis of this they had developed empirical rules of construction to lean on.

About the middle of the 18th century bridge construction began to assume a more scientific aspect than before. Production of iron and steel in commercial scale gave new possibilities. The first iron bridge Coalbrookdale Bridge was built in 1779. This bridge was a turning point in engineering history because it changed the course of the Industrial Revolution by introducing iron as a structural material and it is still used.

Although the first record of western use of iron in bridges was about 1779, the rise of iron to a dominant position as a structural material was in the period of 1830 to 1880. Iron trusses replaced the wooden bridges. Cast iron was first used in arch bridges. A combination of cast iron for compression members and wrought iron for tension members was first used in truss structures, but from 1840 onwards, especially for railroad bridges, wrought iron was used solely.

Bridge building activity increased rapidly with the introduction of the railway all over the world and progressive metallurgical advancements. Consequently, steel became an unrivalled structural material in the 20th Century throughout the world. Seemingly the most recent century will be the age of structures considering steel of prime importance.

Main motive of the Symposium is that there is still much to do to develop and promote steel in construction industry, given its advantages in terms of sustainability beyond technical performance. New challenges towards evaluating the environmental and social impacts of a project in addition to its economic feasibility and value created, poses the need for creation of a wholistic assessment of existing and new infrastructure investments for their lifecycle impacts, including operational and end-of-life phases. On the other hand, resilience requirements for changing forces of nature due to global warming and climate change introduces a paradigm change in engineering design for safety. Aim of this conference is to discuss evolution of steel bridge engineering and technology, in serving improvement of safety, social impact and economic value, with least environmental impact and within the rising constraints of circularity and affordability, under pressures of population and urbanization growth, for better satisfying the demands of connectivity, aiming much longer service life than buildings.