Phenomena

Why Tacoma Narrows Bridge Fell

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We’ve talked about aeroelastic flutter and the demise of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge before, but this explanation from Minute Physics does a nice job of outlining the process simply. As noted in the video, the common explanation of resonance is inaccurate because the wind was constant, so there was no driving frequency for the system.  (In contrast, consider vibrating a fluid where the response of the fluid depends on the frequency of the vibrations. This is resonance.) Instead the constant wind supplied energy that fed the natural frequencies of the structure such that an uncontrolled excitation built up. (Video credit: Minute Physics)

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