Trusses in the Golden Gate Bridge

When we think of the Golden Gate Bridge, or suspension bridges in general, we normally don’t think about trusses. We usually focus on the cables and suspension design. In fact, if you do a search on the Wikipedia entry for the Golden Gate Bridge, you will not find any use of the word “truss” or “truss systems” in the entire entry.

But look at the photos. What lines the entire bottom of the bridge? Yes, that is actually a giant truss. Any structure containing the connecting triangles for support is a truss. It’s the perfect system because of the proper displacement of force within the object or structure.

I’d be hard-pressed to find a bridge that carries any substantial weight in the world that does not feature a truss. These things carry so much weight because they are the perfect design. Consider the molecular structure of a crystal: In this, we see six triangles brought together by nature to create a very strong (and beautiful) object. In essence, a crystal’s structure comes from the formation of atomic sized carbon trusses, creating some of the strongest objects occurring in nature. Almost every molecular crystal structure features triangles in some way, in essence proving the perfect structural basis as the triangle.

So, keep this in mind as you go about building and utilizing truss systems. Truss design integrity is by no means accidental and even the objects that we don’t think of for trusses (suspension bridges) tend to feature them in one way or another.