Bridges and Buildings
Charles Besjak, Director of Structural Engineering at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill NYC (www.som.com) was our guest consultant and engineering expert. Mr. Besjak provided students with an overview of some basic engineering principles including the importance of how materials in bending work together in compression and tension to resist force. A significant principle in bridge design, whether paper, concrete, or steel, is to make sure that all components act in a monolithic way (in unison) to resist the applied loads (whether pennies or cars!).
Students tested their paper bridge designs by loading them with pennies and counting how many could be supported before collapse. The students came up with an interesting range of designs - including net-like structures, tunnels and tubes, and accordion folds - several of which held as many as 200 pennies! Mr. Besjak discussed the pros and cons of each design, and illustrated several approaches for folding the paper (for strength) while making sure to connect the elements into a monolithic (single) structure.
And so concludes our semester of Creative Thinking! It has been a pleasure sharing this time with all of you and I look forward to continuing our journey of learning together.