Friday, April 23, 2021

Engineering Tech Prep Class, Greenville High School Career Technical Education Balsa Wood Bridge Competition

In commemoration of National Engineer’s Week (Feb. 21-27), the Engineering Tech Prep Class at Greenville High School held an annual competition involving the construction of balsa wood bridge structures. The thirteenth annual competition partnering with local engineers, Mote & Associates, was held on Friday, March 5 and Monday, March 8, 2021.  In the past, bridges, boom cranes, and earthquake resistant multi-story towers have been constructed of balsa wood as well as wood cranes built on floating Styrofoam platforms in a pool of water.  This year, due to gathering limitations invoked during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the event had to be modified.  In lieu of a gathering of all students together with guests, two smaller events were held separately without outside guests. Traditionally with past events, guests attended from Mote & Associates, the City of Greenville, and Darke County Economic Development.   Snow events also delayed the event this year.  Consequently, it was not held until after Engineer’s Week. 

Engineering Tech Prep Teachers Chris Sykes and Adam Eberwein determined the guidelines for this year’s competition.  The junior and senior students were instructed to build single span truss bridges of balsa wood.  Corey Bremigan and Dave Mathews of Mote & Associates were able to mentor the students as they prepared their designs the week prior to the competition.

Team members were tasked with building an efficient bridge that will support weight hanging from it (a bucket of sand).  Sand was added to the bucket as each bridge was connected to a table until it collapsed.  The structure holding the most weight with the highest efficiency won the competition.  Efficiency was calculated by dividing the weight held in the bucket by the structure’s weight.

The winning teams were:

  • 1st Place - Aaron Suter and Jordan Warner.  Bridge held 51 lbs. and had a 102,133% efficiency.
  • 2nd Place - Jacob Barr and Ashton Shaffer.  Bridge held 42.5 lbs. and had a 50,255% efficiency.
  • 3rd Place - Seth Shaffer and Nathan Miniard.  Bridge held 46 lbs. and had a 49,680% efficiency.

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