e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Building Bridges and Then Smashing Them

10 schools and 30 bridges in the 21st annual bridge building competition

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Many of the 30 carefully and meticulously crafted balsa wood bridges ended up smashed and crushed in the 21st annual Balsa Wood Bridge Competition sponsored by the Student Construction Association at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) on Friday, March 26 in Room 166 of Baker Laboratory.

Bridges, many with special names like The Brontosaurus, Big Bertha, El Puente and The Bridge with No Name, were judged according to their weight and the load they hold. Students, working as a team, were striving to find the strongest way to support a specified roadway across a 24-inch wide gorge using the least amount of balsa wood.

"The Bendywood Bridge," constructed by Kimberly Logee and Ashley Smith of Pennellville, N.Y., took first place. It was the lightest bridge, when compared to the total amount of load carried by that bridge that achieves the greatest strength-to-weight ratio. Second place went to another home-schooled team from Pennellville, Brianna Logee, Evan Logee, Caleb Lacson and Carissa Lacson. Third place went to the team of Brandon Teesel and Ben Davis from G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton, N.Y.

Bridges were at risk of destruction when placed in the hydraulic testing machine, used to determine the strength of each bridge. An electronic balance was used to determine the weight of each bridge.

Also competing were teams from: Roxboro Road Middle School; Christian Brothers Academy; Nottingham High School; Lowville Central School; Pulaski High School; Corcoran High School; home-schooled students from Liverpool; and Applied Technology at Edison Complex, Rochester.