# Building a Newspaper Bridge - Physics Homework

• Frillth
In summary, the conversation was about building free standing newspaper bridges in physics class. The bridges must meet certain conditions, including being less than 254 g and longer than 40 cm. They will be stress tested by a pneumatic piston with a rectangular plate on top. The person asking the question was considering building a Warren truss bridge and was seeking input and advice. They also mentioned using Google for research on bridge building.
Frillth

## Homework Statement

In physics class, we are now starting to build free standing newspaper bridges. We are allowed to use only newspaper and glue, but we can use as much of those as possible, as long as it meets the following conditions:

1. It must be less than 254 g (don't ask me why).
2. It must be longer than 40 cm.

The bridges will be stress tested by placing them on top of blocks that are 40 cm apart. A pneumatic piston with a rectangular plate on it (I don't know the exact dimensions of the plate, but I can find out tomorrow) will push down on the bride until it breaks.

None known.

## The Attempt at a Solution

I was thinking of building a Warren truss bridge, as shown at:
http://abcdpittsburgh.org/kids/kids.htm
I'm not sure about the actual specifics, though. We haven't really learned anything about what makes a good bridge in class, but I'm thinking that the bridge's width should be equal to the plate's width for maximum weight distribution. Can I get some input?

Sorry if I put this in the wrong forum. I wasn't sure if I should post this under physics or engineering or in homework or general.

Last edited by a moderator:
Sorry to ask such an obvious question, but this is such a common project, have you tried google? You would save us a lot of time if you could say what you've found on google so far, and what you'd like to improve through creative physics...

I would say that this is a great opportunity for you to apply your knowledge of physics principles to a real-life situation. Building a newspaper bridge is a great way to understand the concepts of structural stability, weight distribution, and force exertion. The Warren truss design is a good choice as it distributes weight and forces evenly, but there are also other designs that you can explore and experiment with.

In terms of the bridge's width, it is important to consider the dimensions of the plate that will be used for the stress test. A wider bridge may distribute weight better, but it may also increase the overall weight of the bridge, which could affect its strength. It would be helpful to calculate the maximum weight that your bridge can hold based on the dimensions and weight limit given in the homework statement.

Additionally, as a scientist, it is important to always document your experiments and observations. Keep track of the different designs you try, the weight they can hold, and any other variables that may affect the bridge's strength. This will help you analyze your data and make informed decisions in the future.

Overall, building a newspaper bridge is a great way to apply your knowledge of physics and learn more about structural engineering. I wish you all the best in your project and encourage you to continue exploring and experimenting with different designs.

## 1. How does the concept of physics apply to building a newspaper bridge?

The concept of physics is closely related to the construction of a newspaper bridge because it involves understanding the principles of forces, balance, and stability. The bridge must be able to support its own weight and the weight of objects placed on it, which requires a thorough understanding of physics principles such as Newton's laws of motion and structural engineering.

## 2. What materials are needed to build a newspaper bridge?

The main material needed to build a newspaper bridge is, of course, newspapers. However, additional materials such as tape, scissors, and rulers may also be used to create a stronger and more stable structure. It is important to use lightweight materials that can be easily manipulated and have a high strength-to-weight ratio to achieve the best results.

## 3. How do you determine the best design for a newspaper bridge?

The best design for a newspaper bridge is determined by factors such as the span length, load capacity, and structural stability. These factors are influenced by the type of bridge being built, the shape and placement of the supports, and the distribution of weight. To determine the best design, it is important to consider all of these factors and conduct thorough testing and analysis.

## 4. What are some common challenges when building a newspaper bridge?

Common challenges when building a newspaper bridge include achieving stability and balance, as well as ensuring the bridge can support the intended load without collapsing. Other challenges may include creating a design that is aesthetically pleasing and understanding how to properly use the materials to achieve the desired results. It is important to carefully plan and test the bridge to address any potential challenges.

## 5. What real-world applications can be learned from building a newspaper bridge?

Building a newspaper bridge can teach important lessons about the principles of physics, structural engineering, and problem-solving. It also allows for hands-on experience with designing and constructing a structure, which can be applied to real-world scenarios such as building bridges, buildings, and other structures. Additionally, the project can help students develop critical thinking and teamwork skills as they work together to overcome challenges and achieve a common goal.

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