Spaghetti noodles used to build bridges

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 1/13/98.

Last week, students in Jay Thompsonís Principles of Technology class designed and built bridges cooperatively.

The bridges are constructed mostly of spaghetti noodles with some lasagna. Students experimented with truss designs and used a computer simulation ďbridge builderĒ to simulate designs.

The only materials in the bridges is glue and spaghetti. Rule specifications for the bridges were that the bridge weigh 750 grams or less and be 120 centimeters long. The bridge must span a one-meter gap, have a 50-milimeter wide deck (road surface).

The purpose of the project was that students learn how bridges perform under stress, torsion, shearing and tension; experiment with different adhesives and spaghetti types and to have fun.

Teams consisted of: Amber Michaelis, Noah Bruntlett and Matthew Carstens; Joshua Erickson and Rick Briscoe; Corey Winter, Keith Vossen, and Bill Albrecht; and Seth Elmhorst, Lael Zwiefel, and Byron Fuchs.

Thompson learned about the contest on a British Columbian video. ďThe students thought it would be easier than the toothpick bridges they built last year but found out it wasnít...the spaghetti was very brittle and hard to work with,Ē Thompson said.

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