For a third straight
year, students from the Hamilton City Schools Gifted Program
participated in a bridge building competition hosted by the Butler
County Engineer's Office. About 70 students gathered with their
toothpick bridges as BCEO engineers subjected each bridge to
a load stress test.
The activity is designed
to teach students about the physics of bridge design and the
principles of engineering. "We always hope to inspire a
few to pursue an engineering career in the hopes of replenishing
our ranks," chuckled Greg Wilkens, Butler County Engineer.
"Based on this year's bridges, there may be quite a few
aspiring engineers. We saw many fine structures -- well-designed,
sturdy, and innovative."
The first place winner
in the 2007 competition was Shyann Duncan from Madison Elementary
School. Her bridge withstood 81 pounds point loaded. Point loading
refers to applying all the weight to a single spot on a bridge
versus that weight being spread evenly across the entire structure.
Point loading is usually applied to the spot that engineers deem
the most critical or vulnerable on a bridge -- typically mid-span.
The second sturdiest
bridge withstood 65.5 pounds and was built by Sean Van Dyne of
Fillmore School. Chad McClain from Cleveland Elementary was awarded
third place with a "beautiful bridge" that finally
broke at 58 pounds, according to BCEO Engineering Manager Kar
Singh, who helped organize the event.
- The winners
Shyann, Sean, and Chad.
"There were some
very nice bridges this year with a lot of thought and research
put into them," said Singh. "We appreciate and respect
the Hamilton City Schools for partnering with us on this worthwhile
endeavor. Hopefully the kids had fun and learned a lot about
bridge design and safety as well as about the general operations
of their County Engineer's Office." Before the actual bridge
competition, students toured the BCEO and were given demonstrations
of surveying equipment and Computer Aided Design and Drafting
(CADD) technique. They were also afforded first hand, closeup
encounters with snow plows and other equipment used by BCEO road
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For more information
Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S.,
Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 Fax 513.867.5849