Balsawood Bridge

Dimensions of the bridge

- Driving surface must be a distance of 4ft.
- Bridge will have span two standard tables placed 3ft apart
- The clearance under the bridge will be a minimum of 1ft from the table over the entire open space between tables
- The minimum width is 1ft
- Bridge to be composed only of 144 balsawood strips (1/8” x 1/8” x 36”), 15 balsa wood planks (1/8” x 3” x 36”) and 15 hot glue sticks
- Will support a Vex car carrying 3 standard red bricks

Vex Car

- Will be driven by remote controller
- Size to be determined by students
- Must be able to drive the length of the bridge, turn around and return in the other lane
- Must be capable of carrying 3 standard red bricks.

Essential Questions

- How can geometry affect the distribution of force?
- Why are safe, stable and strong not sufficient for designing structures?
- How can the motion of an object change how forces are applied on a structure?

Students will be able to answer the following questions:

- When does a support structure actually add support or additional weight?
- Would I drive my family over this bridge in 25 years?
- Why must mechanical engineers consider outside factors in addition to design specifications in designing machines such as cars?

Students should be able to:

- Distinguish between civil engineering and architecture.
- Use calculations to determine tensile and compressive forces in order to construct stable structures
- Optimize size and strength factors in designing the test ROV

Students will know:

- How to represent forces with vectors
- How to calculate forces acting on sections of the bridge
- That trade-offs between distribution of weight on the ROV and size limitations of ROV will affect their bridge design.
- How to build a bridge
- How to relay their knowledge to architecture students in different contexts.
- How to coordinate between ROV builders, bridge designers/builders and architects