Build a bridge out of spaghetti

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 November, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 November, 1995, 12:00am

BRIDGE-building in Hong Kong is big business with the construction of the Tsing Ma and the Kap Shui Mun bridges.

To give students an insight into how bridges are built and to understand the problems faced by bridge engineers, the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Leeds in Britain is challenging Hong Kong secondary schools to build bridges out of spaghetti! The Design and Build a Spaghetti Bridge Competition will be held at the British Education Festival, to be held from January 26 to 28.

Over 400 secondary schools are invited to submit teams of three children to build a bridge out of spaghetti in three hours.

The spaghetti can be cooked or uncooked but the structure must be able to hold a dozen 55 gm Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate bars across a 400 mm gap span! Bridges will be judged on their load to weight ratio. The lighter the bridge, the greater the chance of winning.

There are two age categories - 15 years and under, 19 and under. The first round will be held on January 26, and the second round on January 27. The teams have between now and January 26 to perfect their bridge design.

On day one of the competition, each team will submit a design report and a photo of a prototype bridge holding 12 chocolate bars. Teams will have three hours to make their bridge. They will bring along their own spaghetti, adhesives and other necessary equipment. Teams must have a supervising teacher.

On day two, the teams will have their bridges weighed and then tested by being loaded up with the dozen chocolate bars.

The top three bridges in each category will enter the final where they will be loaded to breaking point. The lightest bridge holding the heaviest load will be the winner.

All teams meeting the competition criteria will be awarded a certificate of merit. Prizes include a trip to the Tsing Ma Bridge, books on civil engineering, Swatch watches and CD-ROM encyclopaedias.