How much weight can a structure made of noodles
withstand before it snaps?
Freshman engineering students and interested observers
will soon find out. Using only pasta and glue, the students
will test their design and construction skills on Sunday,
Nov. 6, in the
Whiting School's 12th annual Spaghetti Bridge
Fourteen teams, each consisting of two or three
students, are expected to enter bridges in this year's
competition, which will be held in the Glass Pavilion at
Levering Hall on the Homewood campus.
The bridges can be made only of spaghetti and glue
(epoxy or resin). Each free-standing structure must span
two level surfaces that are one meter apart and must
include a decking of spaghetti wide enough to allow a
"car," represented by a small block of wood, to pass over
During the judging, increments of weight are gradually
added to a platform suspended from the middle of each
bridge until the structure snaps. Its score is the greatest
amount of weight the bridge carried before the collapse.
Students whose bridges can hold at least 10 kilograms
(about 22 pounds) are excused from the final exam. The
winning team receives a $100 prize. To date, the best
student bridge has held 64 kilograms (140 pounds).
Spectators are welcome. Bridges will go on display at
1:30 p.m. The weight competition begins at 3 p.m.
The Spaghetti Bridge Contest is one of the most
challenging assignments in an introductory course called
What is Engineering? Students typically learn important
concepts involving the design, construction and testing of