Different materials used in the construction works normally display different characteristics in terms of strength, durability, workability, strength and the resistance of the materials to corrosion and these qualities must be taken into account while choosing the appropriate materials for use in the construction works. Stones have been used for a very long time in the construction of bridges since the ancient middle ages of the Romans and the Etruscans (Bridge Materials: Online). During these times, they were used to build arch bridges and piers that were able to last for thousands of years.
These bridges could be constructed to a span of up to 150 m. today, stones are known to be cheap, easy to maintain and long lasting. They are used in the construction of surfaces. While choosing stones for use in the construction work, they must be resistant from weathering and in this case, rocks such as granite, gneiss, and porphyry can be used (Bridge Materials: Online). Another material used in the construction of bridges is the iron. This material has very good qualities in terms of its strength and durability.
Iron is used to ensure that the bridges remain strong. However, iron is affected by rusting and hence there is a need to curb the extent of rusting by applying appropriate measures. For the purposes of reinforcement, steel, reinforced and pre-stressed concrete can be used. They are used to enhance the strength of the bridge. Both reinforced and pre-stressed concrete are used for tensile reinforcement while steel is used for the enhancement of the tensile strength of the bridge. There has been a major debate in regard to the use of reinforced concrete and structural steel in the construction of bridges.
In regard to the use of reinforced concrete, it is known that concrete that is of good quality has high compressive strength and resistance to natural effects. Concrete is known to be strong in compression but weak in tension and as a result, cracks normally develop due to the effect of increased loads, increase in temperature and shrinkage of the concrete which increases the tensile strength.
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