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Readers with long memories may recall that, in 1976, my father was President of the Institution. Those with unusually sharp memories will recall that, in his Presidential Address, he discussed the problems of attracting into our profession an adequate supply of engineers and technicians. He had spotted, at a very early stage, the downturn in birthrate which occurred in the early 1970s and was one of the first to draw attention to the problems faced by a society whose population declines in numbers.
At the time, this caused but a brief flurry of press comment. However, as we all know, the effects of a falling birthrate are now about to be felt on the labour market and have been a matter affecting the direction of the Government’s social policies for some years past.
There has been much said and written recently about the vexed question of Codes of Practice. Such is the intensity of emotion aroused that we have seen the setting up of
the rival ‘permissible stress’ Code group who have written their own Code in place of the (apparently) much unloved ‘limit state’ Code. The fact that this is a concrete Code
is of no particular significance, since similar reactions have been experienced with respect to all the new ‘limit state’ Codes which have been published so far (in the UK at 1east)- similar, that is, in terms of the level of anger at their increased complexity and the replacement of comprehended engineering parameters by non-dimensionalised mathematical criteria.
Brief reviews of the behaviour of masonry arch bridges and of popular methods of analysis highlight the need for a simple, practical analysis of arches under working loads. A three-hinge model is proposed and is shown to lead to the same solution as four-hinge mechanism analyses when the structure approaches ultimate load. The three-hinge method is extended to enable failures by local crushing of the masonry to be simulated. It is also shown to permit realistic allowances to be made for movements of abutments.
F.W. Smith, W.J. Harvey and Professor A.E. Vardy