The following FAQ contains frequently asked questions and answers about the "The Effect of Bridge Design on Weight Bearing Capacity" Project Idea and/or project kit. If you are having trouble with the procedure, you may find assistance in the answers below.Q: I am trying to print the schematics from the website, but they are not printing at full size, or only half the schematic is printing. What can I do?A:
The schematics are made for 11 inch by 17 inch paper. If you are printing them on smaller paper, then the schematics will not print correctly. Depending on your printer, only part of the schematic may print, or the entire thing might be shrunk to fit on your printer's paper. Try printing the schematics on a printer that prints on 11 inch by 17 inch paper. You can find these at most copy centers. Or, check your printer's owner's manual to see if your printer can tile a larger page onto multiple, smaller pages. Q: How long should I let the glue dry before unclamping the clamps on a Popsicle stick bridge?A:
Let the glue dry completely
before removing the clamps. 8 hours of drying time is a good rule-of-thumb, but the glue may take shorter or longer to try, depending on the temperature and humidity of your workplace. When comparing bridge designs, make sure to let each bridge dry for the same
amount of time. Q: I am having a hard time finding two things that are the same height to lay my bridge across. Is it important than the supports the bridge rests on are the same height? A:
Yes, it is important that both sides supporting the bridge are the same height, otherwise the force of the load will not be symmetrically distributed across the bridge. If you are having problems finding two objects that are the same height, you can put some cardboard, books, or paper on top of the shorter object to make it as tall as the taller object.Q: My bucket or loading container is all the way full, but the bridge has not broken. What should I do?A:
You built a strong bridge! You have a couple options. First, you could detach the bucket or loading container from the bridge and replace it with a larger bucket. Or, you could fill the bucket with a denser material. Sand, for example, is denser than water, so a bucket full of sand will weigh more than a bucket full of water, if the two buckets are the same size.Q: How do I make this into a science project? A:
This science project (or engineering project, to be more precise) is very open-ended. Once you have built the two bridges whose designs come with the project, use the Engineering Design Project Guide [http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/engineering-design-process-guide.shtml?from=AAE
] to help you refine your goals. Think about what criteria you want your bridges to meet (how much weight to hold, a particular strength-to-weight ratio, how long the bridge can be, etc.) and then design a bridge to meet those criteria. Build and test that bridge, and use what you learn from that first bridge to improve the next one you build. Continue improving your bridge design until you meet your design criteria.
If you have other questions about the procedure or need assistance troubleshooting your project or the Experimental Procedure, please post your question in the forum for this kit at Ask an Expert: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=73
. Our team of volunteer Experts is available to assist. We attempt to reply to questions within 24 hours. Please note that you will need a free Ask an Expert account in order to post questions.