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Bridge Building

Each team will build a strong, stable, and free-standing bridge from 25 paper drinking straws and 1 meter of tape. The team that build the tallest bridge and holds an object for 10 seconds with the fewest straws will be the winner. This event has a written test component.

Number Students Allowed
2 per team
Impact Safety Glasses (ANSI Z87.1+)
Oct 15, 2023

The rules committee met on Tuesday evening (10/10/23) to review the rules for Bridge Building. At this meeting it was decided that we make the following changes to the event rules.1.  The bridge deck must span at least 17 cm and be at least 6cm in width.2.  The weight to hold will be moved from the bridge deck to the highest point of the bridge.3.  The highest point of the bridge must have an area large enough to hold the 5 cm x 5 cm loading block.4.  Scoring of the event will not change.


A)   Is there any benefit to the bridge holding the weight longer than 10 seconds?   There’s conflicting guidance; one section says "Testing will end when   the bridge fails to hold the weight, any part of the bridge sags and touches   the tabletop, or the end of ten seconds” suggesting all that matters is if it   makes it to 10 seconds. Another says "The bridge must support the object   for one minute, with partial points given for any time above 10 seconds”,   suggesting 1 minute is better than 10 seconds. B) Can you confirm that the   location where the weight is placed can be less than 6 cm wide? C) Does the   bridge design have to have a traditional bridge deck that rests on the   supports or can it be an arched or elevated deck as shown in the photo in the   "Straw Bridges - The Stem Laboratory" link that's included in   "Possible Resources"

  • A) Thank you for asking this question. Teams may leave the mass on their bridge for the full minute. Time above 10 seconds will help the Event Supervisor beak any possible ties at the competition. B) The loading block is 5cm by 5cm. Team need to take this into account. C) Bridge design is the team's decision.

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