Engineering Now :: Volume 5 - Edition 3 :: November/December 2008

Bridge Constructors and Structures Put to the Test

By Nancy Quaegebeur

Polar Stick Bridge 2008

Mr. Luis Orta, PhD Candidate from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, explains the various elements of this bridge structure.

Future bridge constructors and structures were put to the test at this year’s Annual Polar Stick Bridge Competition. The event was held on November 20, 2008 and hosted by the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Contestants consisted of high school students from A.B Lucas, Oakridge, H.B Beal, first year Fanshawe College students and Western Engineering students.

There were more than 20 bridges, each built from three simple tools: 1kg of polar sticks (donated by Nestle Canada), 2 bottles of glue and 1 spool of dental floss (donated by the Faculty of Dentistry). All bridges were measured then critiqued by Mr. Luis Orta, PhD Candidate from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Each bridge then faced the ultimate test known as the test of strength by having 10 kg weight plates applied to it. The audience’s faces cringed and gasped as the sound of splitting wood echoed in the room. Some bridges fought long and hard while others gave in right away.

In the end, the race was tight, with a 0.6 N being the separation of the winner from the runner up. The honour of Best Overall Bridge was awarded to Laura Bujouves and Gretta Janitz from H.B Beal Secondary School for their bridge “Bridgette.” They were also awarded Best Bridge by a High School Student or Team. Western Engineering students Colin Lee and Gary Chan were awarded Best Bridge by a First Year Student or Team; and Hojun Pyo and Brody Kim were awarded for the Most Aesthetically Pleasing Bridge.

This year the London District Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) and Stantec Inc. donated the prize money and plaque that was awarded to the winners.

Also from this web page:


.: Allison Stevenson
Spencer Engineering Building, Room 2074
Phone: (519) 850-2917 Fax: (519) 661-3808