Catenary - The Inverted Catenary Arch

The Inverted Catenary Arch

Catenary arches are often used in the construction of kilns. To create the desired curve, the shape of a hanging chain of the desired dimensions is transferred to a form which is then used as a guide for the placement of bricks or other building material.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, United States is sometimes said to be an (inverted) catenary, but this is incorrect. It is close to a more general curve called a flattened catenary, with equation y = A cosh(Bx ), which is a catenary if AB = 1 . While a catenary is the ideal shape for a freestanding arch of constant thickness, the Gateway Arch is narrower near the top. According to the U.S. National Historic Landmark nomination for the arch, it is a "weighted catenary" instead. Its shape corresponds to the shape that a weighted chain, having lighter links in the middle, would form.

Inverted catenary arches
Catenary arches under the roof of Gaudí's Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain.
The Sheffield Winter Garden is enclosed by a series of catenary arches.
The Gateway Arch (looking East) is a flattened catenary.
Catenary arch kiln under construction over temporary form

Read more about this topic:  Catenary

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