03/06/13 Every spring the Purdue chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers sponsors a balsa wood bridge building competition open to all Indiana High Schools. The objective of the competition is to build a bridge that maximizes the ratio of load supported to the mass of the bridge. Bridges are judged in two categories; structural strength and aesthetic qualities.
The competition is geared for students involved in, but not limited to, advanced math, science, physics, and technology classes. However, the main goal of this exercise is to simply have fun and learn about the real world application of engineering concepts.
This past weekend students from Plymouth High School competed in the ASCE Bridge Bust at Purdue University. There were 13 different schools that participated in the contest. PHS not only took 1st place but also took 2nd place in the competition.
Teams assemble their bridges from 20 sticks of balsa wood and a bottle of glue that is the premade kit. Most bridges are approximately 2 feet long and 8 inches high. The teams are judged on loading efficiency, aesthetic qualities and structural concepts.
Loading efficiency is determined by pouring sand into buckets that hangs from the bridge. The bridge that can hold the most weight wins that category.
Bridge Bust is designed to give high school students a hands-on experience while learning about science and engineering.
Row 1 (l-r): Heath Wolfe, Bao Tran, Sommer McClellan, Sarah Iwinski, Clay Corsbie.
Row 2 (l-r): Kennedy Schnieders, Alex Gallardo, Garrett Fox, Makayla Fox, Zacc Hutchings, Melanie Cooper.
Row 3 (l-r): Josh Kuhn, Jacob Walker, Will Houser, Nate Mahan, Makayla DePoy, Emily Denney, Branton Leazenby.
Row 4 (l-r): Tucker Pletcher, Kameron Eisenhour, Katie Lee, Aaron Houin, Corey Wallace.
Not pictured are Kurt Corsbie and Richie Sutch