Raw spaghetti dough is quite crumbly, but it is possible to create different shapes by gluing the pieces together to create a miniature bridge capable of supporting a surprising amount of weight. There are several school noodle bridge contests: join in this fun by adding weight on the bridge until it collapses!
Part 1 of 4: Building the bridge
Step 1. Design a support structure
To get started, you'll need to build a structure that simulates solid land at the ends of the bridge. It is possible to build a bridge by crossing two tables of identical heights or to assemble a wooden structure that will support the bridge. Assembling a structure is usually the best option as it allows you to hang a container under the bridge.
Step 2. Determine the length of the bridge
Measure the distance between the two support structures to determine the length needed for the bridge.
Step 3. Design a model
Draw a design of the bridge on graph paper and cover it with a layer of film. Place the spaghetti over the design to cut the pieces to the proper size and glue them together.
- Draw a sketch of the bridge on the paper before covering it with the film.
- Then spread the noodle pieces over the drawn lines.
- After all the pieces have been cut to the dimensions of the sketch, remove the noodles from the film paper and glue all the pieces carefully together.
Step 4. Choose the sticker
The type of glue used in the project can be its salvation or failure. Ordinary white glue doesn't work very well because it's water-based, which softens the noodles. Wood glues and hot glues are easy to apply but are slightly flexible when dry, which is not ideal for bridging. The ideal solution for maximizing bridge strength is epoxy glue, however messy it ends up being. By drying quickly and firmly, the bridge will be well supported.
Use mashmallows or popcorn to piece together bridges when working with young children. The model won't hold very steady, but the child will learn the idea of the exercise
Step 5. Build the trusses
These triangular shapes are fixed face down on the roadbeds. Fix them together with glue to distribute the weight that will be added to the bridge.
Rectangular trusses work, but they greatly reduce the load supported by the bridge. For macaroni bridges, triangular trusses are ideal
Step 6. Build the roadbed
Glue several layers of spaghetti together to create a thick, flat road. Leave a few layers without glue so they move naturally and redistribute weight.
Step 7. Install the trusses
Glue the trusses built on each side of the road and between them. The bridge should consist of a base bed and trusses on the sides and top, such as walls and a roof.
Step 8. Weigh the bridge
Place the bridge on something stable, such as a box, and weigh it. Then subtract the box weight. If you have two scales, place one under each end of the bridge and add up the weights. Do not place the bridge directly over a scale.
The step above is optional, but it allows you to understand the relationship between the total weight of the bridge and the weight it is capable of supporting
Part 2 of 4: Collapsing the Bridge
Step 1. Put the bridge in its place
Support her on the structures you've built and hang a light container under the center of the bridge. The size of the container will depend on the size of the bridge.
You can place the weight directly under the roadbed, but this will increase the chances of you destroying the bridge right away, so be careful
Step 2. Get some heavy objects
The size and density of objects will depend on the size of the bridge. For small bridges, coins should do, while some sandbags or gym weights should do for very large bridges.
You must know the weight of the objects to determine how much weight you added to the bridge before it collapsed
Step 3. Add weight little by little
Be careful not to drop anything on the bridge or shake it. The process can be a little complicated.
Step 4. Watch the bridge collapse
There will come a point where you add too much weight to the bridge and it will collapse. After the show, add up the weight of the objects you added and find out how much the bridge supported.
Step 5. Go back to the beginning
Repeat the process modifying the materials or adjusting the bridge construction. The idea is to try to create a bridge capable of supporting more weight. As with any scientific experiment, the trial and error process is essential.
Part 3 of 4: Strengthening the Bridge
Step 1. Select the best materials
To create a bridge that can support a great deal of weight, you'll need quality materials. Gather the epoxy glue and lots of pasta to reinforce the bridge.
Consider the pros and cons of different types of noodles. Rounded spaghetti straws might be great for some parts of the bridge, while flat noodles like linguine might be better for other parts
Step 2. Design a stronger bridge
The principle of building a spaghetti tip is the application of theoretical principles to real life through engineering. Therefore, the design of the bridge impacts its strength. Some tips for building a stronger bridge:
- Use triangular, not rectangular trusses.
- Use several layers of putty to create the roadbed.
- The middle layer of the roadbed should be loose to give the bridge flexibility by redistributing the weight over it.
Step 3. Limit the space covered by the bridge
The longer the bridge, the more difficult it will be to redistribute the weight along its length. Because of this, a shorter bridge will support more weight.
Step 4. Find the balance
There is an intrinsic relationship between the weight and strength of the bridge. Adding more mass adds strength – when the process is done correctly, of course – but it also adds weight to the bridge. The heavier the bridge, the more likely it is to collapse with the addition of weight. Take the weight of the bridge into account when designing it.
Part 4 of 4: Entering a Bridge Competition
Step 1. Identify possible competitions
Noodle bridge building competitions often take place in schools, science museums, universities and engineering groups. Find the closest event in your region and register.
Some competitions have different categories for bridge types. Identify the type you want to build and subscribe to the correct category
Step 2. Read the rules carefully
Some competitions have strict rules regarding materials used, bridge sizes and weights, so please read the rules to avoid being disqualified.
Step 3. Seek inspiration
You can find inspiration for the bridge by looking at real models around the world. Bridges are great engineering achievements built to very exact specifications. Looking at real bridges can give you some ideas for winning the competition.
Step 4. Practice
Each competition applies a different system of adding weight to the bridge until it collapses. Prepare in advance using the same methods as the competition in your tests.
Step 5. Take care when transporting the bridge
As much as some competitions require you to build the bridge on the spot, in some cases you will need to bring a ready-made bridge. If that's the case, find a safe and effective way to move the bridge without weakening it.
- When determining the weight supported by the bridge, be sure to include the container used to accommodate the weights. The weight of the bridge also matters in competitions, winning whoever has the bridge with the best weight-to-strength ratio.
- To create an even stronger bridge, glue a few pieces of spaghetti to the ends of the trellises to create small triangles – trellises for trellises.