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DR WILLIAM BROWN OBE RDI

Chartered Civil and Consulting Engineer and Designer

ENGINEERING

  • Developments in steel construction and steel bridges were accelerated during the war years and led to a trend away from riveted lattice to welded plate construction. This had greater economic potential, as well as social and industrial benefits. However, knowledge and practical experience were limited. It was here that Dr Brown's research and design concepts combined with Sir Gilbert's experience and his willingness to consider new ideas.
  • When the first major suspension bridge project (over the Forth) was under construction, his studies for the deck demonstrated many significant advantages both in construction and appearance. Although mathematical analysis for static conditions had indicated possible improvements, dynamic behaviour was less predictable and the need to check for the consequences of each design stage by wind tunnel tests had inhibited progress. The shapes devised by Dr Brown addressed this problem.
  • The resulting design methods, shape and fabrication techniques were a complete departure from the norm and the design has since become a classic of its type. The design resulted in the first Mc Robert Award and Dr Brown's appointment as an RDI. It confirmed the British engineering as the leader in the field.
  • He introduced the use of plated jibs and body structures to cranes. His concepts for single box crane jibs, occasionally using warped forms have been adopted worldwide.
  • An extrapolation of the "Severn box" concept for the longer span at Humber required modifications to overcome aerodynamic problems. The deck shape was soon seen as more important than ever. However, new fabrication techniques were needed to produce the new shape economically. Successful solutions were evolved and were incorporated on the construction of the viaduct on the approach to the Second Bosphorus Bridge.