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Bridges Test Lab

Luis Martinez

Matt Martin

Vince Feliciano

Bridge Test Lab

Build Pictures + design sketch:

Build process:

When we first started constructing our bridge, the issues we dealt with boiled down to three main features of the bridge: maximizing the support of the roadway, maximizing the support of the sides, and maximizing the support of the legs. After much deliberation, we decided that the best way to diffuse the weight evenly across the roadway was to create a sort of popsicle stick backbone that would run throughout the bottom of the solid portion of the bridge, as shown in the diagram. The sides and legs of our bridge relied heavily on layering different combinations of a crisscross pattern in order to maintain structural strength. We decided not to attach the legs to the base in hopes that we’d be able to adjust the legs depending on how the weights affected the bridge.

Final Bridge:

(note: we were unable to take pictures of the bridge post-smash due to technical

difficulties)

Video:

(note: we were unable to get access to the last few seconds of the test before it collapsed due to technical difficulties)

Quantitative and Written Analysis:

The mass of our bridge was 442 g — just 12 grams short of a pound — and despite its structural flaws, it was still able to uphold 65 pounds’ worth of weight (about 66.7 times heavier as the original) because of the layers of crisscrossed popsicle sticks.

Our bridge might have fared better if we had attached the legs to the base. Although our “adjustable leg” plan did help somewhat (as seen in the video), we realized too late that leaving the legs unattached compromised the bridge’s ability to balance the weights. As a result, the bridge collapsed not because of the weakness of the structure itself, but because of its inability to adequately maintain balance. In the end, our bridge was only minorly damaged rather than completely smashed.

Who did what:

Luis — Blog and Building Bridge

Matt — Building Bridge and Build Process 

Vince — Quantitative and Written Analysis, Videos/Pictures and Building Bridge