A bridge too far? Competition to showcase student engineering skills

These bridges are designed to fail, but it’s all in the interest of education.

Civil engineering students who have been working to build model bridges invite the campus community to watch as their projects are tested and evaluated, Wednesday in the CAW Student Centre Commons.

Teams drawn from professor Amr ElRagaby’s class, “Finite Element for Analysis and Design,” will join a competition measuring their skills in analyzing, designing and constructing truss bridges built only with craft sticks, toothpicks, and glue. Each bridge will measure 750 mm and will be subjected to a load test until it collapses.

“Failure is the ultimate goal, because only then can we know the ultimate limits of their strengths and flexibility,” says Dr. ElRagaby.

The competition offers prizes in three categories:

  • highest ratio of load borne to structure mass and deformation;
  • most accurate prediction of maximum load;
  • most creative and innovative design.

The testing is open for public viewing and runs 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, July 25, in the Commons area of the CAW Student Centre.