Structural bearings are critical elements of structures - most notably bridges – that provide a load-bearing connection between the superstructure and substructure while allowing the required movements.

 

The specific design of a bearing depends on several parameters: VSL’s bearings are carefully tailored and fabricated to meet the most rigorous specific design requirements. This ensures the loading, movements, rotations, restraints, surroundings and concrete integrity of the structure are all taken into account, for instance:

  • The vertical forces on a specific structure will define the bearing’s footprint;
  • The horizontal forces (e.g. earthquakes, traffic loading) will determine the need for guiding elements and their capacity;
  • The rotational restraints will dictate the bearing’s height.

VSL bearings are manufactured in our own state-of-the-art factory in Spain, where highly-trained bearing specialists use their expertise to provide clients with the most effective solutions.

VSL offers various different types of bearings:

  • Elastomeric bearings are the most cost-efficient solution for low vertical loads, small movements and small rotations.
  • Pot bearings are designed to support high vertical loads using a confined elastomer block encased inside a ‘pot’. Depending on the type, a pot bearing can accommodate movements that include rotations up to 30mrad.
  • Spherical bearings are designed to support high vertical and horizontal loads with a high rotational capacity about every axis.
  • Special bearings include shear keys, integrated anti-uplift devices or specific solutions for bridges built using the incremental launching method (ILM).
  • Seismic bearings include lead rubber bearings and high-damping rubber bearings.