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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How Bad are the Cracks on the Penang Bridge?

So the Penang bridge has several cracks according to this report in the Star.

We have an assurance that the cracks are "all located in non-critical areas". On a bridge, what does one consider a non-critical area?

It is unfortunate that the safety report has been glossed over instead of educating the public what the actual problem is.

The occurrence of numerous cracks may be an ominous sign of overall deterioration and Penang is not really that far from the earthquake zone so there may be frequent earth vibrations that are too small to be felt but which can cause failure after many years.

The Penang authorities should publish their findings in the BEM magazine so that those in the profession can study the problem.

To put the problem of stress failure in perspective, there was a recent documentary on Astro about Aloha Flight 243 that lost a section of the fuselage during flight after minor cracks were observed in the plane's shell.

You can read the full details instead of just one or two lines.

Photo: Thanks to http://www.penang-hotels-classify.com/images/bridge1.jpg

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