Published on 3 May 2012
A 35cm bridge made only of pasta and superglue, but strong enough to support an adult’s body weight, has won the University of the Sunshine Coast’s 2012 spaghetti bridge competition.
USC Civil Engineering students Beau Norman of Caloundra and Jayden Walter of Kuluin designed and built a sturdy 231g bridge that carried a load of 76.2kg before it buckled and collapsed during stress testing recently.
Student teams had spent weeks designing and refining their constructions as part of their assessment for the subject Mechanics of Materials.
The strength of each bridge was assessed using state-of-the-art load testing equipment in a tutorial room of USC’s new science building.
Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering Dr Terry Lucke said the winning bridge was able to carry a load 330 times its own weight.
“Beau and Jayden demonstrated innovative engineering design and superb workmanship in their construction,” he said.
“They were awarded the perpetual shield by sponsor Covey Associates and $200 in prizemoney.”
Beau and Jayden’s construction was even stronger than last year’s winning bridge by Ryan Hofman and Sean Thrussell, a 219g bridge that carried 68kg, or 311 times its own weight.
This year, students were also awarded points for the aesthetic appeal of their bridges, which led to some groups submitting elaborate and elegant designs.
Among the most stunning constructions were bridges by team mates Samuel Taylor and Kristopher Jopson and by Dominic Vrolijks.
— Michelle Widdicombe