Physics in Bridges

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Physics applies to so many things in this world. For our Final we were asked to build a project that has physics behind it. My Partner Elvira Lopez and I chose to build a bridge out of popsicles sticks. But there was a trick to the project. The trick was that we could only use 100 popsicles sticks, no more than 100 and nothing else but Popsicle sticks and glue. The Bridge also had to be strong enough to hold 150 pounds. We thought how could we build a bridge that can be stable and strong enough to hold 150 pounds out of popsicles sticks, how can we possibly do that? We came to a conclusion that building a bridge has to do with Isaac Newton’s Laws, having the right structure, and materials we use. Newton’s Laws apply to a bridge. The first law states an object in motion stays in motion, an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. A bridge does not move, or at least it shouldn’t. The only thing in motion is the wind being acted on the bridge while it stays at rest. Newton’s second law is F=ma, which means that the force is equal to the mass and acceleration. Newton’s second Law also has to do with Net Forces. A net force is pressuring against the bridge, the net force has to be zero so that it can come to an equilibrium. Newton’s third law states, for every reaction there is an equal or opposite reaction. If something is on the bridge the bridge has to apply the same force. For Example, a child could be applying a force to the Bridge by simply being on the bridge. The bridge pushes back up with the same amount of force. The force is in equilibrium when it does not move and it has a net force of zero. In order for our group’s popsicles bridge to hold 150 pounds, the bridge had to have the right structure. For the best result, bridges have to have a structure of shapes in V’s or X’s. For example, the bridge structure would look like this,

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