FREYSSINET Eugène

Published on 4 February 2008

 

1879-1962

Eugène Freyssinet was born in Objat, in the Département of Corrèze. On leaving the Ecole des Ponts et chaussées, he was given a post at Moulins where he built a large number of bridges. The Academy of Sciences awarded him the Caméré prize for the jacked arch technique he developed, which was used for the first time on the bridge at Châtel-de-Neuvre.

During the 14-18, war Freysssinet was commissioned as a military engineer, serving as a Captain in the Military Commission of the Northern Reserve. This did not, however, prevent him from continuing his involvement in the civil sector and becoming Managing Director of the company Mercier, Limousin et Cie. His many research activities lead him to develop rolling benders, vaults with ribbing on the top and, in particular, the vibration of concrete.

After the war, he built several more bridges, including the Plougastel Bridge with its three identical 180m span arches and discovered the laws of the long term deformation of concrete.

His interest in concrete prestressing led him to leave the Limousin company to complete his research. In 1928 he first manufactured prestressed concrete members using bonded prestressing tendons and, in 1933, gained fame by strengthening the harbour station at Le Havre which was in danger of collapse.

Freyssinet was approached by Campenon with a proposal to become the agent for Freyssinet’s products, and this collaboration resulted in the construction of several major projects - for example the raising of the Beni-Bahdel dam, where prestressing was performed with the flat jacks of his own invention, or the foudation caissons for the Flotilles Quay in Brest.

During the second world war, he set up he set up the Société Technique pour l’Utilisation de la Précontrainte (STUP), and built many bridges in France and abroad. He also built the extraordinary hangars at Orly airport, the Orléans reservoirs and the cut and cover tunnel in Rouen. He remained extremely active until his death.

He became honorary President of the International Prestressing Federation (FIP), worked as a consulting engineer for STUP and Campenon-Bernard, and was also made an honorary Chief Inspector of Public Works.

Bridge Albert-Louppe at Plougastel, on Elorn (1924-1930)
Bridge Albert-Louppe at Plougastel, on Elorn (1924-1930)
Médiathèque of ENPC