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# Project 2: Understanding Forces in Solid

## Structure and Surface Structure

BY: ADELINE TING; CHARLENE CHAN; HELSA JOSEPHINE; KIAN SOON JEAN;
NG TENG WERN; TSAI WAN CHING
Introduction
This project introduces the design strategy and importance of skeletal construction. In a team of 6, we
were assigned to build a tower with a maximum base of A5 size by using Popsicle sticks, pins,
toothpicks and threads. The fnal outcome must be a tower that has a minimum height of 30cm and
the number of Popsicle sticks used must not exceed more than 100 pieces. The completed tower is
expected to withstand a minimal load of 1.25kg that is to be applied on top of itself up to an
undefned maximum load for 2 minutes.
Objectives
Create an understanding of skeletal structure and its relevant structural components
Demonstrate a convincing understanding of how sskeletal construction works
Manipulate skeletal construction to solve an oblique design problem.
Learning Outcomes
Apply construction system in design
Recognize the implication of construction systems in design
Analyze the issues of strength, stifness and stability of structures including modes of structural
systems, forces, stress and strain and laws of static
Design Strategy
The design concept of our tower is inspired by the highly stable tower crane structure commonly
found at construction sites. The structure of the tower crane is very stable and load is distributed
evenly throughout the whole tower.
Structure
The base of our model is square which resulted in a rectangular tower design. This is created so that
the load of the weights can be evenly distributed to the four corners of the tower. Thus a higher
weight load can be withstand by the structure.
Columns
The towers columns has to be strong and reinforced as they are the main components in
withstanding vertical forces. Loads originating from the top of the tower is expected to transfer
vertically through the columns. The popsicle sticks will be arranged with their wood grains running
upright and with maximum height in mind. This would result in constructing efective columns which
will be connected with horizontal and diagonal components with toothpicks and secured by thread.
Bracings
Bracings are important components of the tower that stabilises the structure of the tower. If the load
is not placed perpendicular to the tower, it creates lateral forces that will jeopardise the towers
integrity. The popsicle stick acting as bracing connects one horizontal and one vertical component
diagonally at an angle in order to stabilize the structure of the tower. More bracings help make the
tower more stable and allows it to withstand lateral forces.
Jointing
Thread is used to connect the towers 3 modules by way of a strong tying method. For secondary
joints, the pin joint method is used with toothpicks that connect individual popsicle sticks which
strengthens the structure of the tower.
Design Strategy
Slotting
The slotting method is used for the base and the top of the tower to ensure that the tower module is stable vertically. This also aids in
preventing the tower from sliding or crashing inwardly.
Jointing
Toothpicks are used to connect two or more popsicle sticks together. Thread is also used to strengthen the joints and aid in distributing
Bracing
Bracings are placed in an inverted V-shaped position on 2 sides and 45 degree bracings on the other 2 sides.
Structural Failure
Jointing
The toothpicks used were too large in diameter, thus causing popsicle sticks to crack easily where
large holes are drilled for the insertion of large toothpicks.
Workmanship
The frst tower module was completed in a rush which resulted in poor workmanship. Before the load
test began, several popsicle sticks were already cracked prior to the drilling of holes for jointing.
Solution
Jointing
Toothpicks has to be replaced by pins or ones with a smaller diameter in order to prevent cracking
while they are malleted into drilled holes.
Workmanship
Proper time management is needed for the 2nd mock-up structure in order that all group members
are able to accomplish tasks carefully and accurately. Costly mistakes can be prevented especially in
the areas of measurement and drilling.
Number of popsicle sticks: 32
Height: 8.4cm
As uniform load (wooden blocks) is applied over the top of the tower, load is distributed through the top of
the tower and to the vertical popsicle sticks. Loads were also supported by the beams and inverted V-shape
bracing.
The structure was stable even as the
frst load was placed on top of it.
The load testing was stopped right as
the popsicle sticks started to crack
under the weight of the second load
Most of the columns lower parts were cracked..
Number of popsicle sticks: 76
Height of tower : 32cm
Design Strategy
Knoting
The use of thread to tie around the joint of the tower in order to secure the tower and give it a
stronger reinforcement to prevent the joint part from sliding or moving.
Interlocking
Using the interlock strategy to connect the vertical and horizontal elements in the popsicles sticks to
ensure a strong and stable connecting.
Pin joint method (replaced using toothpicks)
The use of toothpick to connect the popsicles
Bracing
Two types of bracing methods were used in order to provide diferent support systems.
45 degree bracing
stabilises structure.
V-bracing aids in stability
As uniform load (wooden blocks) is applied over the top of
the tower, load is distributed through the top of the tower
and to the vertical popsicle sticks. Loads were also supported
by the beams and inverted V-shape bracing.
Structural Failure
Pin method
The use of toothpicks help to connect the sticks together however due to the harsh drilling to obtain the
holes, the sticks are mostly cracked and it became very brittle. Therefore when loads are placed on the
tower, the forces causes the sticks to cracked more and break.
The frst weight plate was placed
centrally on top of the tower. There
were no signs of cracking or
bending of the stable structure.
2nd load : (15+15)kg = 30kg
As the second weight plate was
sticks breaking was heard whilst
the tower bended in zig-zag
posture.
4th load : (15+15+5+5)kg = 40kg
As the 4th weight plate was added,
the towers zig-zag posture
intensifed before it collapsed.
3rd load : (15+15+5)kg = 35kg
The third weight plate was added
and the towers zig-zag posture
intensifed as more sounds of
breaking popsicle sticks were
heard.
Solution
1. The structure would have achieved higher efciency if during the process of slotting the sticks are
carefully cut to make sure there are no small cracks along the them.
2. While drilling the holes for the toothpicks, the drillbit should be placed perpendicular to the stick so
that the holes are all in the middle of the sticks and also to prevent small cracks.
3. The tying method is very important as the tighter it is, the lesser the chances of joint loosening. The
direction of tying may also help in strengthening the joints.
4. The use of accurate diameter of toothpicks is important to prevent forcing the toothpicks into the
sticks which causes cracks.
Slotting
Slotting provides a more stable and strong joint, however, due to the
inevitable harsh machine-aided-cut method and strong pressure inficted
while fxing the joints, individual popsicle sticks break easily and showcase
cracks along their surfaces even before the test load. great force will deepen
the cracks, causing sticks to break and the tower to fail.
Bracing
The placing of the bracing in the wrong direction causes the load distribution transfer
failed as the force are not correctly transfer throughout the sticks.`
Knotting
The knot were not tied correctly and tight so when the load are placed onto the tower, the
strings start to become loose. This causes the toothpick to slip out and the interlock part
to move.
Project 2: Understanding Forces in Solid
Structure and Surface Structure
BY: ADELINE TING; CHARLENE CHAN; HELSA JOSEPHINE; KIAN SOON JEAN;
NG TENG WERN; TSAI WAN CHING
Height of model: 32cm
Weight of model: 97g
Number of Popsicle sticks used: 72
Total amount of weigh withstood:
(a) Final Test 1: 46KG
(b) Final Test 2: 50KG
Model Test Attempt 1
Bracing
Extra bracings are used to stabilize the structure of the tower. The bracings are being drilled
and slotted in with toothpicks. The bracings are being cut at an angle to stabilize the
structure of the model. The end of each bracing is also being tied with the black thread as a
reinforcement to the strength of the tower.
Jointing
The pin-joint method uses toothpicks to join the horizontal and vertical Popsicle sticks
together. The size of the drill is made to be smaller or same size as the toothpicks so that the
toothpicks will ft perfectly to the holes on the Popsicle sticks.
Knotting
A black thread is used to tie the joints of the tower as reinforcements and to strengthen the
joints of the tower. Before tying the joints, a small slit is cut at both ends of the Popsicle
sticks. That way, the thread sits one the slits, making the tying of the whole structure more
stable.
Final Prototype:
Perspective View Elevation View
Slotting
Slotting is used to create the square base of the model. It is slotted 3x3 so that it can distribute the load more
evenly to all four sides of the square base.
Design Strategy
As our model was ready to be
tested, slowly one by one we
placed the diferent amount of
weight plates on it. The heaviest
weight plate was 2.5kg,
followed by 2kg, 1.75kg, 1.25 kg
and a dumbbell of the weight of
5kg.
A total of 4 2.5kg weight plates,
6 2kg weight plates, 9 1.75kg
weight plates, 4 1.25kg weight
plates are placed on the tower.
Test results:
The tower remains frm at 46kg
and did not topple of. The
reason we stopped at 46kg is
because there were no more
weight plates to be placed on
top of the tower.
After removing the weight
plates, at a closer examination,
there were no cracks found at
the joints of the tower. The
tower was still intact as a whole
and is ready for the second
fnal testing with more
weights.
2.5kg weight plate 2kg weight plates 1.75kg weight plates 1.25kg weight plates 5kg dumbbell
The frst weight plate of 15kg was placed on
top of the popsicle stick tower.
Subsequently, two weight plates of 10kg each
were added one-by-one on top of the frst
weight plate. The tower remained strong under
Height of model: 32cm
Weight of model: 97g
Number of Popsicle sticks used: 72
Total amount of weigh withstood:
(a) Final Test 1: 46KG
(b) Final Test 2: 50KG
Model Test Attempt 2
Solution
1. The labelling of the towers two bases before the tests would have resulted in a higher load with-
stood due to an even foor base structure.
2. A fat hard board placed under centrally aligned weight plates would have resulted in a higher
load withstood due to a uniformly distributed downward force upon the vertical load-bearing tower.
Issues
1. The tower was mistakenly placed upside down in the second test during which weight plates
placed on top of the supposedly foor base caused it to be uneven. During this test, the foor base
was rightly placed on the ground, however, the uneven foor base as a result of the former test
mistake is suspected to have afected the fnal outcome.
2. The weight plates were not centrally aligned, thus an uneven series of force was superimposed on
the tower progressively. Consequently, the tower leaned towards the direction of greater downward
force before it collasped.
However, as the third weight plate of