Already in 2014, Abeo and four project partners performed a bending test of a 13 meter long Pearl-Chain test bridge. Despite a load of 68 tons being applied at this test, it wasn’t possible to obtain collapse or cracking in the structure.
Thus for the second test in July 2015, 130 tons of ballast was brought to ensure that the bridge would collpase.
The purpose of the test was in full-scale to test the load-carrying capacity of a Pearl-Chain bridge in order to compare the result with theoretical calculations. Prior to the test, the theoretical characteristic load-carrying capacity was calculated at 55 tons. At 83 tons, nice cracks could be observed in the construction, which were further amplified when 10 tons extra were applied. The final collpase occured at 98 tons.
The bridge collapsed as a positive moment/crushing collapse close to the ballast. During the collapse, the bridge also collapsed in the end not loaded. The project team was very pleased with the result, which showed cracks prior to collapse and a total load of almost 2 x the calculated characteristic load-carrying capacity.
The novelty of the Pearl-Chain bridge concept was further emphasised by the presence of a video crew from Discovery Channel, who covered the entire bending test for a feature in the television programme “Daily Planet”. The programme has app. 8 mio. viewers worldwide, who can expect to see the bending test on the channel in September.