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Student Engineers Build Bridges


Build a bridge using straws, paper, pins, sticky tape and scissors? Not a challenge for BBC’s ‘Blue Peter’ presenters, but university students at a joint ICE West Midlands and IStructE event.

The ‘Make and Break’ competition last week saw over 50 engineering students and young professionals tasked with using simple objects to build a model bridge capable of crossing a 500mm span, that could carry a 1 kilo load at its mid section.

A team from Warwick won, with a team from host university Birmingham University coming second.

The teams, of four to six people, had an hour and a quarter to design and construct their bridge, with design plans submitted for judging after 15 minutes, with their structures then tested.

The Institution of Civil Engineers West Midlands Graduates and Students Committee organised the event with the Institution of Structural Engineers Midlands Young Members Group.

Leon Sinclair of the ICE Graduates and Students Committee said: “The aim was to improve participants’ time management, communication and conceptual design skills. It was also aimed at increasing awareness of both institutions and further events that will be held by them. A really contagious, enthusiastic engineering sprit was shown.”