FAMOUS SERBIAN INVENTORS

Branko Žeželj

Branko Žeželj (Benkovac, March 14, 1910 – Belgrade, February 1995) is remembered to be one of the greatest and most active constructors in the world. He was the civil engineer, inventor, university professor, member of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Scientists, one of the founders and managers of the Institute for the Testing of Material and the winner of the highest Serbian and international awards. He got his degree at the Department of Civil Engineering of the Technical Faculty in Belgrade at 1932. Although he lived in Serbia, his original solutions in the domain of civil engineering are accepted and praised worldwide. His greatest contribution was the introduction and popularization of the utilization of the prestressed concrete and he proved that it was the ideal method to do whatever the engineer wishes to be done. His inventions were protected by patents in Serbia and abroad and used in the technology of building bridges, buildings, nuclear reactors, railways, power transmission lines, etc. Due to the implementation of the latest technological solutions of Branko Žeželj the ex Yugoslavia was considered to be one of the highly developed countries in the field of civil engineering.
Žeželj's creative work comprises of 108 expert works, 41 patents, and 2 inventors certificates and over 60 projects, out of which are 21 bridges and 20 halls. Žeželj left behind him several thousands of residential buildings around the world, all built using prestressing concrete.

His name is mostly connected with the patented precast skeletal system of building of residential and public objects from the prestressed concrete IMS – Žeželj, which found its application, except at the areas of ex-Yugoslavia also in other parts of the world: Cuba, Hungary, Ethiopia, Angola, Egypt, Russia, China and other countries. For example, the third of the New Belgrade was build by the system IMS Žeželj.

Žeželj was the member of several important international and domestic expert and scientific associations (FIP, AIPS, RILEM, ACI, CIB, EIP-CIB), one of the persons initiating foundation of the Association of the laboratories of Yugoslavia for examination and research of materials and constructions, and he was twice its president, now the DIMK of Serbia. For the sake of the expansion of the technology of prestressing, in 1966 he founded the Yugoslav society for prestressing, and he was the president for many years. As the well-known researcher and constructor, he held lectures at several foreign universities, academies and similar institutions. With expert and scientific research works he participated at the large number of national and international congresses and other assemblies. Some of his objects were included into the schoolbooks and monografies in many countries.

The great exhibition hall of the Belgrade Fair is probably the most beautiful work of Žeželj which was the result of the efforts of the architect Milorad Pantovic and engineer Milan Krstic as part of the project of the Belgrade Fair. The dome of the Great Hall has 106 meters, and at the time it was the greatest concrete hall in the world in 1955-1956. Even today, more than 50 years later, it is the construction that the capital of Serbia can be proud of that got the status of the monument of culture in 2009 by the decree of the Government of Serbia more than 50 years later.
Žeželj was the great engineer and constructor of bridges from stressed and prestressed concrete. After the first bridge from the prestressed concrete over the River Smailska at the town of Kraljevo, and later more great bridges constructed in the same technique, were constructed in those days and at the time, the recorders in dimensions were the bridge at the river Tisa at the town of Titel. “The bridge of Žeželj”, at Danube near the city of Novi Sad and at Beška. Later, the Žeželj technology was used to build the most important bridges in the world. The bridge at Novi Sad had the span of the great arch of 211 meters and is among the greatest arch bridges of concrete of the world used for railway traffic. During the building of this bridge, for the first time in the world, during the building of the bridge, the assembly arch concrete scaffolding, having the span of 108 meters, secured the freedom of sailing. Also, because of the instability of the terrain at the left bank of Danube, intending to bear the horizontal pressure of the arch, for the first time in the building of arch bridges, the so called prestressing of the terrain by using the strong hydraulic presses was implemented with the particularly composed system of concrete bolts that automatically compensated the eventual horizontal moving of the support. The mentioned original solutions of Branko Žeželj, at the Congress of the World Association for Presstressing (FIP), held in Rome in 1960 were declared to be the exceptional novelties in the building of bridges.

In the last ten years of life, Žeželj devoted himself to the research, projecting and introduction of the new system of building of public and residential quarters – the system called the System 50. This system of building includes a concept as a very simple catalogue system of the industrial construction , characterized by the high degree of the freedom of urbane and architectural projecting with the respect of the principle of modularity, componability and compatibility with the other sub-systems.

The experts of the Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Serbia, according to the latest researches of the patent documentation, found 41 patent of Branko Žeželj and two inventors certificates, including 26 domestic patents. Abroad, the majority of patents by Žeželj were protected at the territory of Austria – totally four, two at the territory of Germany and Switzerland and one at the territory of USA, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Hungary and Norway. For almost 44 years Žeželj created and protected his inventions. The first application for invention he filed on September 24, 1950 for the Equipment for tensioning and anchorage of steel wires in the manufacture of the civil engineering elements of prestressed concrete, and the last before the end of his life, on 26 April 1994, the Procedure for concrete arch bridges without scaffolding.

- read the exclusive text of Branislav Vojinovic BSc, civil engineer who was collaborator of Branko Žeželj
- have a look at the map of patents of Branko Žeželj