February 21, 2017

Purdue student engineering group hosts annual Bridge Bust event

2016Bridge Bust Members of Purdue’s American Society of Civil Engineers monitor the loading capacity and judge the overall design of an entry in the 2016 Bridge Bust event. (Photo/Lyles School of Civil Engineering) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue’s American Society of Civil Engineers will test the bridge-making skills of high school students at the 38th annual Bridge Bust 2017 Competition.

A total of 122 teams and 219 students from 15 schools in Indiana and Illinois will participate in the event Friday (Feb. 24) at the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center.

Purdue ASCE hosts Bridge Bust each year as an outreach event to area high schools. The objective of the competition is to build a balsa wood bridge that can carry the largest capacity possible, using as few materials as possible. Awards are based on design as well as loading capacity.

Event co-chair Trevor Moore said several schools have expressed how excited the students are to compete.

“The students have been hard at work researching, designing and preparing their bridges,” Moore said. “We are looking forward to a great event to not only find the best overall bridge, but to show students different aspects of Civil Engineering and Purdue.”

Teams assemble the bridges from 20 sticks of balsa wood and a bottle of glue. Most bridges are approximately 2 feet long and 8 inches high. The teams will be judged on loading efficiency, aesthetic qualities and structural concepts.

Loading efficiency will be determined by pouring sand into buckets that will be hung from the bridges. The bridge that can hold the most weight wins that category.

New this year, Moore said the contest is incorporating a mandatory presentation aspect for each team. Poster presentations under five minutes in length must detail the design, research and construction process and highlight the importance of communication and presentations in the engineering profession. 

Event judges are a mix of Indianapolis ASCE Metropolitan Indianapolis Branch Younger Members Group and Purdue Lyles School of Civil Engineering students. 

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu  

Source: Trevor Moore, purduebridgebust@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: Media interested in photo or video coverage of the competition should contact Brian Huchel at Purdue News Service, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu 

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