‘Origami’ Bridge Could Aid in Disasters


An engineering professor in Japan has developed a temporary bridge that he says can be put in place quickly to advance rescue efforts in the cases of natural disasters.

Ichiro Ario, an assistant professor in the Department of Social and Environmental Engineering at Hiroshima University’s Institute of Engineering, said he developed the folding bridge using concepts found in Japanese origami.

“This type of bridge has the advantages of compact volume and speedy expansion, [requiring] no large yard, and only a few engineers,” said Ario, who made his comments in writing to Civil Engineering.

“We hope that we don't have to use this [bridge] after a natural disaster, such as earthquake, landslide, or flooding, in your country or our country,” he said. “However, we should be equipped if it happens.”

Prototypes Tested

According to Civil Engineering, The Mobile Bridge resembles a scissors lift that has been turned on its side. Ario first developed a pedestrian prototype in 2009, and then recently developed a bridge that could carry passenger cars.

That bridge, the magazine said, can span 56 feet and has a capacity of 5 tons. It can be put into place in 10 minutes and takes only three people to set up, the magazine said.

Ario said that although the bridge is designed to be put in place where infrastructure has been damaged, the actual bridge foundations would have to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

“Ordinarily, we have many block protections made of concrete materials along both sides of a river,” he said. “It is very simple. If there is not any deformation when a heavy truck preloads on the foundations, it will be possible” (to place the bridge there).

The magazine also said the team hopes to build a larger version of the bridge that is capable of carrying heavier loads and remaining in place a longer period of time.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Bridges; Bridges; Disasters; Engineers; Health & Safety; Roads/Highways

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