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Promenade Piers

AS a Structural Engineer getting on in years I can look farther back than most of you. I have seen many changes in constructional engineering. I remember the change from wrought iron to steel. The change in working stress from 5 or 4 tons per square inch to 7 1/2 tons per square inch meant that the quantity of metal used was less. The smaller sections used presented problems which took us a little time to get used to. Nowadays no one sees any problem in it. There is one disadvantage in the use of steel: that is its greater liability to corrosion. I have had great experience in Promenade Pier work, and in that direction have noticed the excessive corrosion in steel as compared with wrought iron. For instance, in the Brighton West Pier there are rolled iron joists and girders still in good condition. This pier was opened in 1866; that gives a life of over 67 years to the wrought iron, while some steel lattice girders and joists have had to be taken out after a life of only 20 to 30 years. Rolled steel joists corrode very quickly, due usually to the thinness of their webs ; 3/8 in. metal for lattice girders also corrodes very quickly. In my practice I consider that 1/2 in. metal is the minimum thickness for pier work. The tendency at the present time, to reduce the thickness of webs of rolled steel joists, is, from the pier point of view, unsatisfactory. M. Noel Ridley

Author(s): Ridley, M Noel