Engineering Projects/Bridges/Howard Community College/spring2012/p2501msn

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Electronic Sections Expected

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Problem Statement

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To create an arch and implement it with the other Bridge Team to compete in a competition that will hold the most weight.

Team Members

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Sam Ang
Mirza Baig
Nathan Renkenberger


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The overall objective was to create an arch from noodles. At first the group started with ziti noodles. A cylinder type noodle that is fairly strong. We ran into trouble due to the large gaps created between noodles when forming around the arch. The large gaps made the structure really weak and all the strength of the arch was reliant on the glue. The team moved to a different type of noodle, the penne noodle (a noodle that is cylindrical but with cuts on both ends). We tested different structure types but in the end it was a bit stronger but still too weak. The next idea was to create a box that can hold a ziti noodle and cut it to the right degree. This way all the noodle would be flushed together not relying on the glue because the noodles' surface will be touching each other and cause friction that will try to hold each other together, rather than just relying on the glue to hold the structure together.


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During this week team member came up with design ideas for the arch. We all started with ziti noodles as the main structure noodle. One member's ideas were to place a smaller cylindrical noodle inside the ziti noodle in order To increase strength. Another member decided to use thin flexible noodles on the inside of the ziti noodles to allow the ziti noodles to form around the arch and add extra support. Another member looked into arches that were not made of noodles and decided to implement those ideas using noodles.


Over this weekend team members tested their design ideas and tested different noodle types. All three members came to the same issue when it came to gluing the noodles together, there is not enough surface area for the glue to work on the ziti noodles. This issue leaves gaps in between the connection of noodles and in turn reduces strength. A team member decided to try a different noodle type, penne, that may solve that issue. The penne noodle has slants on each of the noodle and is similar in strength and size as the ziti noodle. Giving more of a catching area for the glue. One team member's idea was to file down each individual ziti noodle to an exact degree to fit the arch. This would remove all gaps in between the noodles but increase build time. In class the team used penne noodles with the fettuccine noodles inside to link them together and provide support. However, there was no more epoxy to fasten the noodles together.


Team members got together to test their different ideas on the arch, design a box that can be used to quickly grind down ziti, and to continue the penne fettuccine arch. The team continued building the arch by placing penne noodles on fettuccine. Members created several strand using this technique. Each end of the noodle was placed in the glue then onto the fettuccine. The end result was a weak structure that broke easily.


Team members reconvened and used wire instead of fettuccine. Since wire cannot be part of the structure it has to be removed. When we finish constructing the arch with wires inside, the wire got glued onto the noodle. We tried a series of idea on how to implement the wires and noodles without having the wire get stuck to the noodle. A member pitched the idea of wrapping the wire in wax paper because epoxy doesn't stick to it. We built an arch with wire wrapped in waxed paper, however, due to time we were not able to build a lot of arches and stick them together and test its strength.

Decision List

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We had two different types of noodles we could use to build the arch, Penne Noodles or Ziti Noodles. Both has their own advantages and disadvantages. The Penne Noodles has the slanted edge already made which we hypothesized that could easily form the arch because it is already slanted. Also, we thought it would made it more durable because more of the surface of the noodle will be in contact rather than having gaps inbetween the noodle and the only thing holding them together is the epoxy glue which the glue can easily be bent and brake apart. Below is the decision matrix we created and requested friends and family to help us out. Construction Time referes to how fast we can contruct the arch with the use of this noodles regarding how much work we have to do, such as grinding the noodle down, constructing a box to cut the noodle at a specific degree, pasting each noodle together. The Structure Strength referes to the overall strength of the arch and the stability, durability, and strength of the geometry of the noodle.

Noodles to use Construction Time (1-Best 10-Not the Best) Structure Strength as a whole arch(1-Best 15-Not the Best) Total Total
Highest-Not the Best)
Penne Noodle 15 38 53
Ziti Noodle 45 25 70

With these data, we decided on to move forward with penne noodles. We also had to decide upon which design we should construct.

Design 1 - Side-by-Side Structure

Glue a series side-by-side After constructing this during the first week, this was tossed out because the amount of noodles needed made the arch too heavy and unstable.

Design 2 - Head-to-Toe Structure

Glue a series from head-to-toe

Design 3 - Criss-Cross Structure

Glue cris-cross

Majority of the time, we were building on the head-to-toe structure since both design 2 and design 3 requires arches that are head-to-toe structure. However, we believe design 3 will work the best because it will be light and thinking about the physics of it, the tension force inbetween the arches will hold them together well.

Material List

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Materials Used:

1) Epoxy Glue
2) Ziti Noodles
3) Penne Noodle
4) Fettuccine Noodle
5) Arch Board
6) Wax Paper
7) Duck Tape
8) Wire
9) Gloves
10) Eye-Protective Goggles

Materials needed to be purchased in the future:

More Wax Papers, they are running low.

Software List

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  • Photoshop

22 hours and 35 mins


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How to mix epoxy glue

Wrapping Wax Paper on Wire

Next Steps

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  1. Applying the epoxy is the toughest part of the project
  2. Find the best angle to grind the pasta at to have it mesh properly.
  3. Wrap a bunch of wires in wax paper, insert them into the grind noodles and create several arches and test its strength.