A challenge to build a bridge from ten sheets of paper inspired students to come up with all kinds of interesting ideas.The science and engineering students, on A level and BTEC National Diploma courses, were asked to create a structure which would hold
A challenge to build a bridge from ten sheets of paper inspired students to come up with all kinds of interesting ideas.
The science and engineering students, on A level and BTEC National Diploma courses, were asked to create a structure which would hold as much weight as possible, during National Science and Engineering week.
The teams of three to five people had an hour to construct a free-standing structure across a gap of 20cm which would support a centrally placed load. They could bend, fold, or cut the paper, or manipulate it in any mechanical way, but were not allowed to use any other materials such as glue or tape. The judges included former student Adrian Timpson, now working at University College London, who helped oversee and plan the challenge. The panel was completed by Dr Alastair Mullins, Head of The Academy, Uxbridge College’s sixth form centre, and Zafar Khan, Head of Engineering.
Prizes were awarded for the bridge with the highest score (calculated by dividing the mass the bridge could carry by the mass of the bridge), and for the most innovative design. The highest scoring bridge was created by Hamed Nategh-Nouri, Joshua Shine and Vinton Thomas, who are studying for a BTEC National Diploma in Electrical/Electronic Engineering. The most innovative bridge was built by A level students Fahad Alabdullatif, Suneth Jayasingha, Malik Hakeem, Xuanyu Lin and Rabnawaz Rustamkhail.
Dr Mullins said: “This was quite a challenge and the winners of both categories did some terrific work, solving the problem by applying their science and engineering skills in a creative way. The highest scoring bridge weighed just under 50g but could carry more than 10kg of weight, and the structure we judged most innovative demonstrated excellent design which utlised both compressive and tensile strength of paper.”
Uxbridge College is now planning on making the paper bridge building contest an annual feature of events held as part of National Science and Engineering Week.