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ASM Meeting

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Determination of the mechanical properties of historic wrought iron wire from the Wheeling Suspension Bridge main cable

Dr. Wayne L. Elban

Loyola University Maryland

Baltimore, MD 21210   (410) 617-2853

will be held at   (see below for driving directions)

Lombardo's Restaurant

216 Harrisburg Pk. Lancaster, PA 17603
  5:30-6:15 Social gathering
  6:15-7:15 Dinner
  7:25-9:00 Presentions

Cost: Members, Retirees, Guests: $20, Students:$10

Reservations: Deadline: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Click on Reservations menu to register, or
 in case of reservation problems: e-mail


Determination of the mechanical properties of historic wrought iron wire from the Wheeling Suspension Bridge main cable

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is arguably one of the most significant American engineering accomplishments during the antebellum period. It was designed by Charles Ellet, Jr. (1810-1862) and completed in 1849 to cross the Ohio River at Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia), as a vital segment of the National Road, the nation's initial federally funded highway. A major restoration was made in time to celebrate its 150th anniversary (sesquicentennial) in October 21-23, 1999. Today, it continues to carry vehicular traffic, making it the oldest long-span [i.e., at least 1000ft (305m)] bridge in use in the world.

During the latest restoration, a portion of the wrought iron wires from the main cable that was secured in the northeastern anchorage was replaced because of generally severe corrosion and wire segments having only surface corrosion were made available by Emory L. Kemp, West Virginia University.

The mechanical behavior of two different samples of this wire was characterized. From the stress-strain responses obtained from standard uniaxial tensile testing, values of yield stress, ultimate tensile strength, failure stress, and strain-to-failure were determined. Evaluation of the elastic modulus was accomplished using a double pendulum test.
Two graphical tensile strength - indentation hardness correlations for historic wrought iron were also developed and evaluated.

In addition to assessing the mechanical properties of the wire, background information on the Bridge and its construction and newly acquired photographs will be presented.

About Our Speaker

Professor Elban has been teaching engineering at Loyola University Maryland (formerly Loyola College), in Baltimore since 1985. Courses taught include Introduction to Engineering Materials, Materials Science Lab, Mechanical Properties of Materials, Transformations in Solids, Engineering Materials and Manufacturing Processes.

He received a BS in Chemical Engineering with distinction ('69) and a PhD in Applied Sciences: Metallurgy ('77) from the University of Delaware and an MS in Engineering Materials ('72) from the University of Maryland, College Park.

From 1969-1985, he was a research engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, White Oak Laboratory, Silver Spring, Maryland.

He has had sabbatical research appointments in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland), the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education (Suitland, Maryland), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Gaithersburg, Maryland) in the Polymers Division.

He is a member of ASM International and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.