Unit 4 Project - Bridge Project

Why did the human build the bridge? To get to the other side!

But seriously, why were bridges invented? Perhaps it was with the desire of humans to be able to move about freely. Humans have been building bridges since as far back as history can go. The only things that have changed is our ability to build longer and larger bridges and the materials with which they are built.

There are three major types of bridges

  • the Beam bridge
  • the Arch bridge
  • the Suspension bridge

The principals of these bridges also apply to other structures with similar designs.

The largest difference between the three bridge designs is the distance they can cross in a single span. For example, a beam bridge made from modern materials is likely to span a distance of up to 60 meters, while a modern arch can safely span up to 300 meters. A suspension bridge, the ultimate in bridge technology, is capable of spanning up to 2100 meters.

Forces are always acting on bridges. Depending on how they are designed and built, they react to forces in different ways. How can you overcome forces when building your bridge?

For more information about bridge design, check out:



YOUR CHALLENGE (Requirements)

To design, build, test, and evaluate a simple beam bridge that will support the greatest possible load, using the least expensive materials and methods, under the following conditions:

  • The bridge must be 45 to 55 cm long.
  • The bridge must span a distance of 40 to 45 cm.
  • There has to be a way to fasten a load to the centre of the bridge for testing purposes
  • You can only construct your bridge with the following materials:
    • cardboard or paper
    • wire or string
    • straws or popsicle sticks
    • aluminium foil
    • plasticine or modelling clay
    • books or blocks for the span supports
    • tape or glue

Your assignment submission:

A completed copy of this Bridge Project Document, including at least 3 pictures of your bridge.