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Engineering Design Students Build, Test Cardboard Bridges

November 18, 2019

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Students from SUNY Orange’s Introduction to Engineering Design course conducted a month-long cardboard pedestrian bridge-building project this Fall that led to a recent “load testing” session at the College’s Middletown campus.

The 18 students in the class, guided by professor Pam Rice-Woytowick, were split into three teams of six members each. The project led students through each step of the engineering design process, from problem statement to construction drawings and field reports.

To begin the project, each team selected a main construction technique and spent subsequent weeks collaboratively developing a schematic of their design, refining their design, and sourcing recycled materials prior to ultimately building a prototype cardboard pedestrian bridge. After prototypes were tested, students incorporated improvements into a 3-dimensional digital model. The three construction techniques included a tube system, a slotted system, and a woven system. Bridges are currently on display in the ground floor gallery of the Rowley Center.

The Introduction to Engineering Design course acquaints students with the skills that will form the foundation of an engineering science career, including: communication skills, engineering graphics, technical report writing, computer graphics, 3D graphics modeling, 2D physical modeling and spreadsheets.