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  • SAM SHERIDAN: This is a place that has

  • seen a lot of human tragedy.

  • You can bundle it up under the blanket of a curse,

  • but you can't deny that there is something at work

  • here, some relationship between West Virginian industry

  • and a seemingly endless cycle of calamity.

  • And since Austin Caperton won't be providing any answers,

  • I'm turning to a trusted old buddy--

  • science.

  • So what we do in this lab is we build stuff.

  • And we break it to figure out how to make it stronger.

  • What a cool job, man.

  • SAM SHERIDAN: No disaster is woven into the local folklore

  • of West Virginia quite like the collapse of the Silver Bridge.

  • I think there's reason behind it.

  • Yeah.

  • It just didn't happen to happen.

  • They said that the Moth Man appeared

  • before the bridge fell.

  • It's like a legend.

  • SAM SHERIDAN: Although I'm fairly certain a flying cryptid

  • didn't cause this disaster, the Silver Bridge did collapse

  • at the exact spot where the Battle of Point Pleasant

  • was fought.

  • And some say that was the cause of Chief

  • Cornstalk's dying curse.

  • So what does science have to say about

  • that peculiar coincidence?

  • MATT HEBOON: This is a model of the Silver Bridge.

  • SAM SHERIDAN: Cool.

  • So the Silver Bridge was similar to a suspension

  • bridge except that the suspension

  • cables were actually eyebars.

  • So tell me exactly how the Silver Bridge failed.

  • What happened?

  • There was a flaw.

  • It was actually located at the end of the eyebar.

  • That flaw was extremely small, and actually

  • wasn't visible because it was hidden

  • under the cap of the pin.

  • And in this case, the very small flaw initiated a fracture.

  • Can you show me what that would look like?

  • Yeah.

  • MATT HEBOON: OK, so we're going to apply a tension lug,

  • meaning we're going to pull on this.

  • [creaking]

  • What's this kip?

  • What is that.

  • So a kip is 1,000 pounds.

  • So we're at 0.21 thousand pounds,

  • or in other words, 22 pounds.

  • It's incrementally adding load.

  • This no longer is contributing at all.

  • All the force that was in this component

  • is now dumped into this one.

  • SAM SHERIDAN: Right.

  • In the case of the Silver Bridge, this happened so fast.

  • The first one failed and immediately--

  • [snap]

  • Let's-- let's do it on our model.

  • MATT HEBOON: OK.

  • SAM SHERIDAN: And here's where we smash

  • stuff in the name of science.

  • So we're going to simulate the fracture of the eyebar

  • by cutting one of the yellow strings.

  • [dramatic music] When one eyebar failed,

  • there just wasn't enough capacity in the rest

  • of the system to resist all of the weight of the structure,

  • and therefore the entire bridge collapsed.

  • SAM SHERIDAN: So the Silver Bridge collapses.

  • What's the way this could have been prevented?

  • MATT HEBOON: The original designs for this bridge

  • called for a suspension cable.

  • But they decided to opt for a less redundant system

  • with the eyebar chains, which allowed them to dramatically

  • reduce the cost.

  • But it also dramatically reduced the redundancy in the system.

  • SAM SHERIDAN: For those of you at home

  • who never took an interest in civil engineering,

  • let me spell it out for you.

  • Redundancy equals safety.

  • So if they hadn't done this with the lowest bidder,

  • there's a possibility that that failure would have happened,

  • but they would have had enough redundancy that the bridge

  • wouldn't have collapsed.

  • That's right.

SAM SHERIDAN: This is a place that has

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B1 silver flaw suspension collapse fracture kip

The Collapse of West Virginia's Silver Bridge | Atlas of Cursed Places

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/14
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