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Team MNH consists of Nicole Drylie, Maddie Burgin, and Heidi Russo.
Nicole Drylie lives in Warren, Michigan. She is currently duel enrolled at Cousino
High School and the Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center (MMSTC).
MMSTC has encouraged her love of math and science, and also is what led her to the
TRAC bridge building competition. This competition is a great opportunity for her to
explore different career options in applied math and sciences. In addition to attending
MMSTC, she also is a member of Cousino's National Honor Society and is a clarinet
section leader in Cousino's marching band. She currently plans to major in
mathematics in college, while she remains unsure of what school to attend at the
Maddie Burgin lives in Warren, Michigan. She currently attends Warren Mott High
School and the Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center. Outside of school,
she is a trustee of Warren Mott's National Honor Society, a Girl Scout, and a heavily
involved member of Warren Mott's band program. Attending MMSTC has allowed her to
explore and apply her interests in mathematics, science, and technology. Participating
in the TRAC bridge building competition has encouraged her to further explore future
college and career possibilities. She plans on majoring in engineering or mathematics in
Heidi Russo lives in Warren, Michigan. She currently attends Cousino High
School and the Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center. Her love of science,
specifically biology, has made her insistent on a career in Veterinary sciences. Outside
of school she is a member of Cousino's National Honors Society and Warren

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Consolidated School's robotics team. Attending MMSTC has opened her up to the
possibilities of mathematics, science, and technology and possible career options. The
subjects that she learned extensively about at MMSTC have prepared her for the TRAC
bridge building competition and to the world of civil engineering.

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Building a cantilever through truss bridge was important to us because it
provided us with engineering knowledge that can benefit both us and the community in
the future. It provided us with the opportunity to learn more about civil engineering and
open our eyes to possible career paths.
We made our bridge after researching real life examples of cantilever through
truss bridges and learning the science behind how they work. We then made many
hand drawn designs and virtually tested them using the Model Smart 2D software.
When we found which hand drawn design was the best, we then worked on improving
that design until we were satisfied with our ratio. We then drew our final design using
the Bentley Software and began constructing our prototype bridge using the materials
provided with us in the bridge kit, making sure to leave enough supplies for our final
bridge. When we finished constructing our prototype, we tested it and looked for ways to
improve the design further. Using our knowledge from the prototype test, we made
some small modifications and repeated the building process from our prototype. We
designed the bridge the way we did in order to balance the forces between tension and
compression so one force did not act stronger than the other. If there was no balance,
the bridge would collapse upon itself.
Our prototype bridge had a ratio of 201.3 to 1 grams. This was with only four lap
joints. From our prototype, we learned that we should use lap joints for our base in
order to maximize our support. In our prototype, we only had four lap joints and the rest
of the load was being supported from the glue. In our final bridge, we will lap all the

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beams that lay horizontally over the 24 in side beams in addition to the four lap beams
we already had on our base.

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We designed our final model based on various scientific principles. The two most
important factors that we used to determine the design were tension and compression.
Tension is the force that causes a material to be stretched, while compression is the
force that causes a material to be compressed. We designed the structure of the bridge
to try to create balance between these two forces. The diagram below shows the forces
acting on the bridge.

Figure 1. Force Diagram

The green arrows represent tension, while the red arrows represent
compression. The blue arrow represents the weight applied to the bridge. As weight is
applied to the bridge, it pushes down on the road surface. This causes compression to
increase in the vertical supports and the cantilever supports under the bridge. If
compression is the only force acting on a bridge, it will collapse as more weight is
added. This means that additional beams are needed in the bride to create tension to
balance the compression. The diagonal beams marked with green arrows were added
to create tension. As weight is applied to the road surface, the diagonal supports above
the surface are "stretched out," creating tension. We designed the bridge in this manner
to spread out the tension and compression to ensure that no one part of the bridge had
a large unbalanced force acting upon it.

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One challenge faced during the deigning process was that when we initially
started out, we did not fully comprehend the science behind the cantilever through truss
bridge. We just designed bridges based off of what we were seeing online as examples.
Then we furthered our research of the science and learned that we should try to design
a bridge that had equal compression and tension in order to have a balance between
the forces, so one force was not acting over the other. We also later learned that the
optimal max height was one sixth of the length of the span. We then changed our
designs to account for this.

Table 1
ModelSmart Bridge Testing Data
Structure weight
Breaking load
Table 1 shows the data collected while testing bridges on the ModelSmart 2D
software. The structure weight and breaking load of ten different bridge designs are
shown. We chose to build our actual bridge model based on design 9, as it had the
highest ratio of breaking load to structure weight.

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Figure 2. ModelSmart Bridge Testing Data

This scatter plot represents each bridge shown in Table 1. The blue points
represent the bridge designs that were not used, and the red point represents bridge 9,
which was used to make our preliminary bridge model.
Table 2
Bridge Prototype Data
Structure mass (grams)
Breaking load (grams)
This tables shows the data from the testing of our preliminary bridge model. The
mass of the bridge was 21.4 grams. The prototype supported 4307.8 grams, which
included the block of wood, the bucket, and the sand used to test the strength of the
Mass of Bridge = 21.4 grams
Block of Wood = 249 grams
Weight and bucket and sand = 4058.8 grams
249 grams+ 4058.8 = 4307.8 grams
4058.8 grams / 249 grams = 201.30

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The first step our group took to find the ratio between the weight of our
completed bridge and the weight it supported, was to weigh our bridge. The weight of
our bridge came out to 21.4 grams. After finding the weight of our bridge in grams, we
found how much weight our bridge could support by placing a block of wood, connected
to a bucket by a piece of string, on the base of our bridge and filling the bucket with
sand. The weight of the block of wood placed on the base of our bridge was 249 grams.
The combined weight of the bucket and the sand inside ended up being 4058.8 grams
when our bridge broke. After finding all of weights needed to find the ratio, we did the
calculations. We added together 249 grams and 4058.8 grams to find that the complete
weight our bridge could hold is 4307.8 grams. Finally, we divided the weight 4307.8
grams by the mass of our bridge, 21.4 grams to find that the ratio between the weight
of our completed bridge and the weight it supported is 201.30.

Figure 3. First Day Constructing Bridge

The figure above shows Maddie and Heidi working on the base structure of our

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Figure 4. During Construction of Bridge

Figure 4 shows Maddie working on completing the edges on the top half of the

Figure 5. During Construction of Bridge

Figure 5 shows Maddie and Nicole working relentlessly to finish our bridge on

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Figure 6. Finishing the First Half of Construction of Bridge

Figure 6 shows our whole team putting the finishing touches on the top half of the

Figure 7. Completing Construction of Bridge

Figure 7 shows the whole team gluing lap joints onto the suspended span. This
was the final step in completing our bridge.

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Figure 8. After Construction of Bridge

Figure 8 shows the whole team posing with our completed cantilever through
truss bridge.
We tested our bridge design two ways, with the ModelSmart 2D software and
with a setup similar to what the bridge will be tested on at the TRAC competition. With
the software, we made multiple designs in 2D and then, using the weights on the
software, determined how much weight each design could hold. We also tested our
completed prototype. For this test, our teachers set up two wood blocks two feet apart
and placed a wooden cylinder halfway between them. After placing our bridge on the
two wooden blocks, a longer wood piece was placed to resemble the weight of the cars
driving on our bridge. This wooden block was connected to a bucket underneath that
held the sand being used to add weight to our bridge. Once setup, our teacher, Mr.
McMillan, added sand into the bucket until our bridge snapped. From these tests we
found a few improvements we could make. The first improvement we decided on is to
make the vertical wooden joints connecting our base lap joints. Making these joints lap
joints instead of just gluing them to the sides of the base would mean that the base

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would be supported not only by just the glue holding the pieces together, but by the
vertical wood pieces lapping the 2 foot long pieces of wood on the base. Another
improvement the test led us to make is to be sure that all of the lapping joints measure
less than 3/8 of an inch. To do this, we plan to take out the long wooden piece in the
middle of each of our cantilevers and form a kind of rectangle to connect the base to the
point at the top of our cantilevers. Instead of having one large isosceles triangle, we will
have two right triangles with a rectangle in the center (see Figure 1).
One challenge faced during the construction of our bridge was taking out the
pins. Pins were used to hold together pieces of our bridge until the glue dried. When the
glue was dry and we attempted to take out the pins. We immediately noticed that the
pins had been glued into the wood and that pliers were needed to dislodge the pins
from the glue.
Another problem we encountered was constructing an x with two beams. For this
structure, we glued one premeasured wood stick onto our bridge on angle. To create the
cross section for the x, we needed to cut two separate sticks of wood and create a
straight line on separate sides of the previously glued cross section. Although the
process was difficult, the structure proved to be sturdy in the end.
One precaution we took was to tie our hair back while cutting the wood pieces to
ensure that our hair would not get in our eyes as a distraction and it would not get in the
way of the blades. While constructing the bridge, we had adult supervision while making
any cuts and constructed in an open area to make sure there were no accidents in
cramped spaces with the tools or wood. We also made sure we were in a well ventilated
area while handling the glue. As a precaution, our teacher, Greg McMillan, wore safety

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glasses while testing the weight our bridge could hold to make sure any pieces that
broke off would fly into his eyes.
Overall, given that we did not use as many lap joints as we should have in our
prototype, our bridge was relatively successful with a ratio of 201.3 to 1. We believe
that, if we modify our final design to include more lap joints in the base of the bridge, we
can improve our ratio and have a more successful bridge.
By taking part in this project, we learned the importance of balancing the forces
of tension and compression in order to prevent the bridge from collapsing upon itself.
We also learned the difference between suspension, arch, beam, and cantilever through
truss bridges. We learned that cantilever through truss bridges are an ideal bridge for
long distances because the cantilevers provide the strength needed while using minimal
falsework, or temporary support, during construction. The cantilevers set them apart
from other bridges. For example, they are stronger than beam bridges because beams
bend when items are transported over the bridge. Arch bridges are known for being
strong but lose strength as they increase in size. Suspension bridges are also known for
their strength but are difficult to build. Overall, we learned the importance of the design
of the bridge for its intended use. We learned that bridge designing and building is a
complicated process, especially when real bridge is being built for public use and
people's lives are at stake. It is incredibly important to consider all the scientific factors
to maximize the load while not using too many resources. This way, we can ensure
people's safety and save money and resources in the process

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We would like to thank Mr. Greg McMillan for his assistance in the project
explaining the science behind the cantilever through truss bridges, his guidance during
the construction process, and his helpful tips for the design of our bridge.
We would also like to thank Mrs. Rosemarie Cybulski for her help in the writing of
the proposal and for her guidance in the Bentley software.

Appendix A

Figure 7. Schedule
The figure above shows our project timeline.
Appendix B

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