Build A Spaghetti Bridge
Spaghetti Bridges
   Spaghetti Bridge Designs | Load Testing

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How to create spaghetti bridge designs

Creating spaghetti bridges can be a fun activity. Aside from the excitement of making your own spaghetti bridge designs, it can also be a good educational experience for your students or children. It teaches them the parts of actual bridges and demonstrates how these bridges are constructed. Many people also join several spaghetti bridge building contests. These contests are a good bonding time for the family and friends, as well as for developing the virtue of patience and cooperation.

Here are some basic tips for building your own spaghetti bridges. You will need raw spaghetti noodles, glue or glue gun, graph paper, scissor, rubber bands and clear plastic wrapper. The first things to build are the bridge supports. Strand or bundle several sticks of the noodles together like a rope or cable, and then glue them together. Use a rubber band to hold the bundle together until the glue is dried up. Next, build the deck or roadway. Lay down several layers of spaghetti. Each layer consists of the noodles glued side by side. Then each layer is glued on top of another to form a thick layer. You can also use several sheets of lasagna to create the bridge deck.

Using the graph paper, design the bridge trusses. This will act as the template of the bridge. Cover the template with the plastic wrapper. Using your scissors, cut the noodles so that they will fit the template. Lay down and glue the noodles on the template. Then glue all the parts of your bridge including the deck, supports and trusses. Allow the glue to dry. You can also make trusses based on connected triangles. You can make trusses based on the M, V, W and inverted V shapes. Some experiments found that the M construction is the strongest. In one experiment, this beam construction carried the heaviest load of about 400 grams.

For beginners, keep your spaghetti bridge designs simple. You can use many triangles, with the inverted triangle being the most stable as compared to a triangle with the apex on top. Because hot glue may melt the spaghetti, you should only use an adequate amount of glue to hold the noodles together, don't overdo it. The bearing points should be smooth and flat. The bearing points are the area wherein the bridge is supported at both ends. When these points are not flat, your bridge could twist and eventually break. Furthermore, the connections of your noodles should not only be strong but also flexible. If these connections are too hard or rigid, and the bridge begins to deflect, the joints would rotate and will break or destroy the spaghetti. Always remember that spaghetti noodles are brittle. They are strong in axial tension but are weakest in compression force. The tactic is to make the bridge's compression components as short as possible. This is done by placing internal web members.
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