Tension building over spaghetti bridge contest

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Tension building over spaghetti bridge contest


Published on 20 March 2012

Tensions will be high and on display on Thursday 22 March when about 20 University of the Sunshine Coast student teams test out model bridges they have made using only dry spaghetti and superglue.

USC’s Civil Engineering students have dedicated hundreds of hours to designing and refining their constructions for the annual spaghetti bridge competition as part of their assessment for the subject Mechanics of Materials.

Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering Dr Terry Lucke said the weight-bearing capacity of each bridge would be tested using new electronic equipment.

He said the team which has produced the bridge with the highest load-to-weight ratio would be declared the winner.

“The bridges are only allowed to weigh 200 grams and that includes the weight of the testing hook which is about 25 grams,” he said.

“The benchmark was set very high last year when a team of students submitted a 219 gram structure which could hold the weight of 68kg – that’s a load of 311 times its weight.”

The teams will be vying for $200 in prize money and to have their names added on the perpetual shield provided by local engineering firm Covey Associates.

Covey Associates managing director Kevin Covey said his team was proud to continue its sponsorship of the competition.

“It’s a great a concept and a fun way to showcase the many creative aspects to structural engineering,” Mr Covey said.

“As the students will see in this competition, whether it’s building a bridge out of spaghetti or designing the structure of a large high rise, engineering requires innovative thinking and a willingness to try new concepts and ideas in the pursuit of finding the right outcome for the project.

“We’ve always been committed to supporting the engineering profession and providing support, mentoring and even job opportunities for local students who embark in an incredibly rewarding career.”

Media are invited to attend the spaghetti bridge testing on 22 March from 3-5pm in Building H, Room H.G.45

— Michelle Widdicombe

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