180 days of learning

180 days of learning

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Bridge Bust 2013

March 15, 2013

Research The first thing that I researched was not bridges, but trusses. Our first design was the shape of a taco. But as my father looked over the design, he mentioned that the design had no support where the weight was. as it turned out, he was right to put more support where the weight goes.


Drawing/Designing In order to begin the process of bridge building, we have to have a design mapped out first.  First you research it, then you actually draw it out.  We actually drew a life-size scale on a big piece of wood that we built the bridge on.  Actually seeing it all mapped out causes minor adjustments to be made that ultimately results in a perfect bridge.

Building/Cutting  Once we had the correct dimensions and information in general, we could begin to measure out the wood and mark it. We then cut the wood with an exacto knife, and glued it together with just enough glue to keep the pieces to stick together. We used close pins to clamp the wood together until it was dry. We also build it in parts, first one side then the other, and a bottom. Finally we put it all together, and then put the cross beams in.

Specific Qualifications In order to compete in the Bridge Bust Competition, our bridges had to meet certain criteria in order to be used in the weigh holding portion of the contest. In order to be used in the weight holding portion, they had to be wide enough to hold a 2-by-4 and must have a section that was large enough to hold the 1 inch metal bar that would suspend the bucket of sand from two chains.

Presentation at Purdue When you get there, you get the bridge measured to make sure the bridge does not exceed the maximum length and height. Then we weight the bridge. After we do all this, judges come around and judge your bridge on aesthetics. Then when take the bridge up to the stand and they put a bar through the center and then hook the bucket of sand and they pour sand into the bucket until the bridge snaps. Then they weight the bucket with the bar and chains and they take the ratio of weight of the bridge to the weight held to get the efficiency.


March is Bridge Bust competition at Purdue University.

Will Houser achieved 1st place for Structural Efficiency = 445
Melanie Cooper and Zacc Hutchings achieved 2nd place for Structural Efficiency = 441

This collaborative blog article was written by Makayla DePoy, Emily Denney, Sommer McClellan, Melanie Cooper, Zacc Hutchings.


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