Design and Build Your Model Bridge

Assessment Title: Design and Build Your Model Bridge

Assessment Type:
Individual, with assessable peer review activity for first submission
Individual or optional group of 2 for final submission
This project aims to further develop your understanding of the key learnings from this unit (and to
exercise your brain to churn creative solutions while working from home.)
Project Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete this project should be able to:
1. Identify an existing bridge (online) and explore the forces and/or other actions acting on the
bridge and describe how the bridge maintains equilibrium and stability. Consider traffic load/ wind
load or any other type of loads that you can identify. Reflect on a previous bridge failure and lessons
2. Plan and design your own bridge with materials that you can find from home – minimum clear
span of 600mm. The bridge must sustain the loads for a minimum of 10 seconds. Minimum width of
bridge (80mm). The total weight of your bridge should not exceed 1kg. Challenge yourself to create a
bridge that can carry the heaviest load. Be as Creative with the built as you can!).
Theme of design: Heaviest load carrying, creative built
Your Tasks
You have been contracted to design a bridge from materials from home (for example spaghetti,
popsicle sticks, marshmallows, straws, toilet paper roll, Lego blocks or anything else that you can
think of).
First submission report – mandatory
Task 1: Background research (for submission in first stage and refined for final submission)
1) Research an existing bridge online.
a) Describe the type of bridge, location, materials, span, member sizes, support type
b) Identify type of loads acting on the bridge – direction of loads acting on the bridge

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c) Identify tension and compression members, sketch free body diagrams and describe
how the bridge maintains its equilibrium
d) Identify 3 points of advantages and disadvantages for this type of bridge
2) Research on a bridge that has failed in the past
a) Identify what were the causes of failure
b) What are the lessons learnt?
c) If you were the design engineer, what would you have done differently?
Task 2: Plan and design your own bridge (for submission in first stage and refined for final
3) Do a search on Google if you need inspiration for DIY bridge (for e.g. Spaghetti bridge, straw
bridge etc.)
4) Plan the design of your bridge
a. explain selection of materials,
b. identify how to connect pieces together,
c. explain why you have chosen the shape of the bridge
d. targeted span and loads that it can carry – do some trials if necessary to justify the
loads that you think your bridge can carry
(Remember, your home-made bridge should have a clear span of 600mm minimum)
5) Explain how are you ensuring stability of the bridge, identify where could the bridge
potentially fail, what are the perceived weak points? What are you going to do about it?
Final submission report and video – mandatory
Task 3: Construct and presentation your own bridge
6) Construct your bridge, document step by step on how you have built your bridge
(Remember to take a photo of you and your final bridge)
7) Identify what changes you have made since your first submission and why you have done so.
8) Provide calculations to explain the built of your bridge, to include the following:
a. Identify load path – explain how the load from midspan reach the supports
b. Calculation of reactions to include point load and self-weight of your bridge
c. If DIY bridge is a truss, analyse member forces near support and at mid span via
method of joint/section
d. Draw bending moment and shear force diagram assuming bridge is a simple beam
e. Calculate section properties of the main deck.
f. Provide 3 suggestions on how you can improve the section properties to give your
bridge better performance
g. Calculate stresses in main members -bending stress and transverse shear stress at
critical sections
9) Showcase your bridge in a video presentation, explaining how you have built the bridge,
video should show clearly the dimensions and weight of the bridge, the perform load test –
start with a load of 1kg at midspan (hold it for 10s) and continue increasing the load (see
video of how load was added incrementally in this competition). Clearly mention what is the

load to weight ratio of your bridge. Reflect on what improvements could be done for your
10) Write up a report documenting your research, design and performance of your model bridge
and thoughts about what you may do differently to improve the bridge. Your report should
contain photos explaining the built and load test.
More info on First and Final Report Format:
• Cover page
• Table of contents
• Numbered headings and subheadings
• Page numbers
• Justified paragraphs
• Swinburne Harvard Referencing
• Numbering of figures and tables and making sure they are cross-referenced throughout the
• Use Calibri 11 font, 1.5 line spacing, 2.5cm margins
Please refer to relevant rubrics for marking assessment.

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