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Patrick Alles

on 4 March 2011

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Bridge Building Why? Applying science as technology is as important as scientific discovery
The application of physics to build bridges is one of the most important steps for building civilization
The process of building a bridge requires problem solving, the key skill to science.
Independant problem solving is fun! The problem: How does one support weight at a single point from a distance? Bridges carry loads. Load: force applied to a structure. The essence of bridges is Newton's First Law: Equilibrium. For a bridge to support a load, it must supply an upward force, equal to the downward force of the load. A bridge is designed to distribute the load, so that no one part of the bridge must supply all of the upward force A bridge distributes the load in one place, to many individual members. This distribution is often accomplished by a truss. Truss: A structure composed of memebers connected together to form a rigid framework. All trusses (and all bridge members) must deal with two forces:
Compression Trusses are built from beams Beams are connected by gussets Bridge Strength: The highest internal force that each of hte components can withstand.
Bridge failure: The internal forces exceed the strength of one of the components. An external force, the load, is transfered to inernal forces among the bridge members. The essence of problem solving is design! In this project, you will:
1. learn how bridges work
2. learn the process of design
3. Build your own bridge! Objective 1: Bridge basics! Objective 2: Design a bridge You will build you bridges out of.... Manila file folders! Manila file folders:
Easy to work with
Behave "realistically" when supporting loads. For any project, there is a project team. There are several roles:
Design proffesional
Project Manager
For this first project, you will primarily be the constructor.
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