© 2014

Toward Structural Mechanics Through Wooden Bridges in France (1716-1841)


Part of the SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology book series (BRIEFSAPPLSCIENCES)

Also part of the PoliMI SpringerBriefs book sub series (BRIEFSPOLIMI)

About this book


Early applications of Navier’s beam theory to the rational design of structures are documented in the Annales of the French Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées and refer to the design of three wooden bridges built in France in the 1840's. Revisiting these examples, the book provides documentation on the progressive establishment of the new design approach, based on the theory of structural mechanics rather than empirical knowledge. The bridges concerned were built according to the structural scheme patented by Ithiel Town in the USA, witnessing the diffusion in Europe of the American advancements in bridge design, circulated by the travel reports of French engineers from the Ecole.
Through the exam of French treatises discussing the progress of theoretical formulations in parallel with experimental findings in the 18th and 19th centuries, the book retraces as well the long path which led to the formulation of Navier’s theory. The relevant scientific debate dealt mainly with the specific case of wood bridges; the text outlines a brief history of bridges built in the Alpine area at the time, based on unpublished iconographic materials from various European archives.


Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées Ithiel Town Navier's Bending Theory Structural Mechanics History Wood Bridge Wooden Bridges

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Architecture, Construction EngineeringPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Toward Structural Mechanics Through Wooden Bridges in France (1716-1841)
  • Authors Chiara Tardini
  • Series Title SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology
  • Series Abbreviated Title SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s) 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Engineering Engineering (R0)
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-00286-6
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-00287-3
  • Series ISSN 2191-530X
  • Series E-ISSN 2191-5318
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 87
  • Number of Illustrations 48 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Solid Mechanics
    Engineering Design
    Architectural History and Theory
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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From the book reviews:

“This booklet is an important source of information, especially about building practices and the evolution of knowledge of structural mechanics in France. It is a thorough investigation of the primary sources quoted by Tardini. … It is a book for people who already have a basic knowledge of modern structural mechanics who are curious about the history of that discipline. It represents an excellent starting point for further studies and discussions.” (Tiziana Bascelli, Mathematical Reviews, February, 2015)