Lightest Bridge Challenge

February 11, 2016
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I’ve been fairly successful with the innovation challenge. So, when I don’t win, I am not especially upset. This did not hold true for today’s challenge. I was incredibly upset that my bridge design did not complete the necessary requirements.

My team started out with a great bridge design. We cut down on all excess materials while still making our bridge very sturdy. I would argue that my team’s design was the best design present except for one small flaw; we couldn’t get the car up the ramp. I even attempted to fudge this by extending the ramp out horizontally with Popsicle sticks so that the rc car could gain some momentum, but it was futile. This failure really infuriated me because our design was so great, but the bridge still couldn’t perform the basic task that the collapsing monstrosity that went before us completed. But, I think there are some valuable lessons that I gained from this experience.

The most important lesson to be learned is never ignored statics. When constructing the ramp to the bridge it seemed like a no brainer that any old incline would work. In fact we made the incline even more gradual than we had originally intended. But, it never really occurred to my team to consider just how tall our bridge was compared to the horizontal distance needed to extend the ramp. My group also made the mistake of choosing form over functionality. We were very concerned about whether or not the bridge could be super light and still hold the car. But, we missed the major point of the bridge, which was getting the rc car off the ground. It is very scary how a few simple mistakes can completely destroy a product.

I think the mistakes I made today will actually help make me a better engineer. It is always important to remember the basic rules of engineering that are applied in statics. And even more importantly, an engineer should always make sure his product fulfills the basic requirements before making it fancy.

Winning Reflection - Charles Hunsaker

  • May 28th, 1:44am

    Thanks for taking the time
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