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Statics Students Test Bridge Designs

December 21, 2021

On the last day of their Fall semester class, a dozen SUNY Orange engineering students tested their bridge design concepts as part of the College’s 21st annual end-of-semester Bridge Breaking contest on Friday, Dec. 3. 

Students from the College’s Statics class were challenged to design and construct lightweight bridge structures using Popsicle sticks and glue as a semester-long project. The structures were then put to the ultimate test to determine, based on a weight-to-load ratio, how strong each individual structure was. The bridges were securely placed into a cantilever assembly at one end and weight was added incrementally to the other end of each student’s bridge until the structure collapsed. The students then calculated the ratio of the weight of the added load to the original weight of the structure.

The winning entry, built by Oren Wolff of Monroe, withstood a load of more than 430 times its weight before failing. Rounding out the top three in the contest were Nathaniel Cosentino of Blooming Grove and Michael Lam of Goshen.

"The annual bridge breaking contest allows students to take what they have learned in the classroom and put it to the test,” said John Wolbeck, professor and chair of the engineering program

Statics is the branch of mechanics concerned with the analysis of loads acting on physical systems that do not experience an acceleration but are in static equilibrium with their environment.

The Engineering Science degree program is among six degrees in the College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Science (STEM) community. For more information, visit www.sunyorange.edu/explore.