What are the characteristics of Vierendeel girder?

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The Vierendeel girder design is sometimes adopted in the design of footbridges. In traditional truss design, triangular shape of truss is normally used because the shape cannot be changed without altering the length of its members. By applying loads only to the joints of trusses, the members of truss are only subjected to a uniform tensile or compressive stress across their cross sections because their lines of action pass through a common hinged joint.

The Vierendeel truss/girder is characterized by having only vertical members between the top and bottom chords and is a statically indeterminate structure. Hence, bending, shear and axial capacity of these members contribute to the resistance to external loads. The use of this girder enables the footbridge to span larger distances and present an attractive outlook. However, it suffers from the drawback that the distribution of stresses is more complicated than normal truss structures

Vierendeel Truss

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.


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  • isaac December 11, 2010 at 4:19 am

    can i analyse the vierendeel truss manually??? its span is 20m!!!!

  • David October 19, 2016 at 10:44 am

    “The use of this girder enables the footbridge to span larger distances” I don’t think so… vierendeel truss usually is heavier for same span, takes more materials…. limit of a truss bridge tends to be worth the cost compared to other options, and when most of bridge strength is required to hold up just the materials for the bridge.

    On plus side because everything is 90 angles it can be simpler to make.

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