Spaghetti Bridge Building Challenge

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Spaghetti Bridge Building Challenge

Build a Spaghetti Bridge at home and you might just win free passes to the Science Museum of Virginia!

Kids who build a bridge at home and bring it to the VaHomeschoolers Conference to be tested will receive a raffle entry to win 2 free passes. If your bridge is in the top three that hold the most weight of the day, you will get an additional 4 raffle entries!

You can’t purchase tickets for this raffle, you must bring a spaghetti bridge from home or hold the most weight to qualify. Testing will be conducted by Science Through the Eyes of a Child on Saturday, March 22 and is available only to paid registrants.

Have you ever built a bridge using dry spaghetti? Believe it or not, some spaghetti bridges can hold hundreds of pounds. The strongest spaghetti bridge to date held close to 900 pounds!

Join Science Through the Eyes of the Child (STEC) in a spaghetti bridge challenge. Build your own spaghetti bridge and we’ll test its load capacity to see where your creation stacks up in the realm of pasta engineering.

The challenge is a family program, open to all paid attendees. Bridges take at least an hour to build, but the best ones take longer, so we encourage you to make one at home and bring it to the conference on Saturday, March 22 for testing at the STEC hands-on-science exhibit. We’ll also have very limited supplies on-hand to build, improve, or repair your bridge at the conference.

Spaghetti_Bridge_2

For consistency, all bridges should be built according to the following guidelines.

STEC Spaghetti Bridge Guidelines

Materials

The bridge can be built using any commercial pasta product (tip: whole wheat tends to be brittle). The pasta can be shaped, molded, or boiled in water (for unique bridge design), but no additives are allowed.

Commercial glue or epoxy shall be the only joining material and may not be used as a structural member. It is intended that glue be used for joints only; continuous strands of glue running along the length of any member are not allowed.

It takes approximately two pounds of spaghetti and one package of glue sticks to build one bridge.

Dimensions

Maximum vertical depth of bridge from highest to lowest point shall not exceed 24″ (~61cm).

The lowest point of the unloaded bridge should not be more than 5″ (~12.7cm) below the road deck.

The bridge end supports should be 24″ apart in length. Therefore, the bridge must span a distance greater than 24″. A bridge 24″ or less in length will fall through the supports.

Maximum mass of bridge should be about 2 pounds (~907 grams).

Road Deck

The road deck should be solid except for a gap in the center of 1″ x 2″. The gap is needed for a fitting used in the load capacity test.

A block of wood (2″ x 2″ x 4″) representing a car must be able to pass unobstructed from end to end across the bridge along the top surface of the road deck.

References:

N.B.: Bridges are tested on how much weight they can hold until they break. ALL bridges are demolished at the end of testing; there will be nothing to take back home with you.

For more information contact:

David Polak
Science Through the Eyes of a Child (STEC)
(804) 822-5680
stecva


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