Oakhill held their first bridge building competition in 2014 and the students enjoyed it so much that it is now an annual event. In 2015 the teams competed fiercely for some lovely prizes and the honour of being crowned bridge building champions. It was good to see so many teams enter and the standard was very high, especially from the students that gained some valuable experience from their efforts the previous year.
During the competition, all teams receive the exact same materials consisting of 4 mm diameter wooden sticks, glue and 3 meters of string and then they had 5 hours to design and build a bridge to fit into the announced specifications regarding span, maximum height etc.
The bridges were loaded with mass pieces until they broke, and the bridge that carried the most mass, compared to its own mass, is the winner. The challenge is therefore not just to try to build the strongest bridge, but to combine lightness with strength to outdo the other teams.
The top 3 teams were:
Third place: Caira Bayman, Benn Lahoud and Amy Lupton
Their bridge with mass 132,4 g was able to carry 77,5 kg before breaking, that is 585 times its own mass!
2nd place:Nic Reid, Nic Thomson and Louis Maarsingh
Their bridge with mass 162,7 g was able to carry 110 kg before breaking, that is 676 times its own mass!
Winners: Johan Hay, Nico Hespeler and Bradley Carroll
Their bridge with mass 159,5 g was able to carry 122 kg before breaking, that is 765 times its own mass!
It is always an amazing sight to see flimsy sticks of wood that weigh about the same as 2 small slabs of chocolate, carrying the mass of a hefty man before it breaks!
Usually the top teams take part in the provincial competition organised by the SA Institution of Civil Engineering, but sadly this year the date of the competition clashed with big sport fixtures. We will be doing our best to send teams to either the Western or Eastern Cape provincial competitions next year.
Congratulations to all the teams that took up the challenge to compete, your hard work and ingenuity truly spanned the gap!