Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Germanna engineering students build a better bridge

Teams of Germanna Community College physics and engineering students were asked to build bridges made only of newspaper and masking tape. The bridges had to be strong enough to support a 3 kg mass while minimizing the amount of material used. A 4 in. high x 5 in. wide object had to be able to pass underneath them. And the bridge had to be free-standing. Bridges were weighed and the lightest bridge that met all other requirements was declared the best.

Deans Shashuna Gray and Denise Guest, Dr. Lisa Murphy and Dr. Davyda Hammond were judges.

Pictured at right, first place and most original design went to Josh Lyons, Dan Ward, Kari DeShazo, and Roaa Abbas. Their bridge had a mass of 136 g, and was able to withstand a load of 7,000 g before it gave way.

Second place and lightest structure went to Zilmara Montecinos Bonnet, Tyler Merrell, and Will Desposorio. They presented two different designs. Their heavier bridge had a mass of 116 g, and was able to withstand a load of 5,000 g before it collapsed.

Third place went to John Hewitt, Tyler Smith, Amanda Agpaoa, and Patrick Wright. Their bridge had a mass of 112 g, and was able to withstand a load of 10,000 g before it succumbed.

Pictured at left, Junior Engineer Award Honorary competitor - Alex Fetea, a 5th grader at Parkside Elementary School. His bridge had a mass of 70 g, and was able to withstand a load of 4,000 g before it broke.


John Hewitt said...

Our bridge exerted a force of 11 Newtons on the Newton meter, and mass = force / acceleration due to gravity so 11(N)/9.8(m/s^2) = 1.12 kg. So our bridge actually had a mass of 1,120 grams.

-John Hewitt

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