Preforming Under Pressure

Scale model bridge building

Anatomy of a bridge

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The challenge

Our challenge in Engineering was to build the strongest bridge possible that spans a distance of 30 centimeters (1 ft.) using 1/8' x 1/8' balsa wood and 1/4' x 1/8' balsa wood. Student considered the span of the bridge, the load on the bridge, the type of load, and the time frame in which the bridge must be built. We put every idea on paper, chose the best one, and designed a balsa wood model. The model was placed on the testing instrument where small amounts of pressure were applied until structural damage was evident. Students recorded the amount of force and compared their results to other students in the class.

Our design

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Horizontal testing damage

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Peak force

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The 48.9 KGf translates to 107.806 LBf

Vertical testing damage

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