Spheres of influence
Spherical bearings, to date predominantly used in the bridge construction sector, are increasingly finding application in the construction of buildings – particularly in the case of special, technically challenging building construction projects where the unique advantages of this type of bearing come to the fore
Spherical bearings have long been used in bridge construction, thanks in part to their unsurpassed ability to accommodate superstructure rotations about any axis. mageba RESTON®SPHERICAL bearings, which use ROBO®SLIDE rather than PTFE to facilitate sliding movements at rotation and translation interfaces, offer further particular benefits. ROBO®SLIDE’s much higher abrasion resistance and general durability – in testing for bridge bearing applications, it shows no visible signs of wear after 50 km of accumulated sliding path while PTFE is completely worn out after only 20 km – minimizes bearing maintenance and extends bearing service life. And its far higher allowable compressive strength enables the size of the bearing to be significantly reduced – as demonstrated, for example, by the bearings of the Tran Thi Ly Bridge in Vietnam, each with a capacity of up to 250,000 kN (three times the weight of the Eiffel tower).
Such advantages can be equally beneficial in the construction of buildings, especially in the case of special, technically challenging building construction projects, as is being increasingly recognized by design engineers in the United States, Canada and elsewhere – as demonstrated by projects such as the Manhattan West Development and the Hudson Rail Yards Public Atrium, both in New York City.
Of course, RESTON®SPHERICAL bearings continue to be used, also in North America, for bridge construction projects – such as, most recently, the Lone Tree Pedestrian Bridge in Colorado. With increasing use in both the bridge and the building construction sectors, it is safe to say that the spherical bearing’s impact on tomorrow’s construction industry will be multi-faceted and significant.