Project 2, Team A4
Synopsis of bridge scores
- α squad score: 2.684 x 10^-6
- Ω squad score:
- Current best team score: 1.98 x 10^-7
- α squad best design:
α squad thought that the strongest design would probably involve triangles. We started with a design of roughly equilateral triangles with the bottoms and tops alternating. We then decided that having all the triangles long and thin, with the pointed ends upwards, would probably distribute stress towards the restraints more effectively. These ideas, when implemented, resulted in a very high surface area. To mitigate the problem, we removed the sections between several of the triangles, making long, skinny parallelograms instead. Finally, we used the sketch fillet tool on most of the corners, to decrease the strain in those areas. We also experimented briefly with a second line of horizontal braces across the middle, but it increased the surface area too much and didn't reduce the displacement much. α squad's final design is shown above.
Ω squad began on the idea that the curve or circle should be the basis for the best design. We started by making a curved bridge, somewhat in the style of the Roman aqueducts. When implemented this design was moderately successful, producing a respectable score. However significant stress was put on the center of the bridge, which led us to add a central pillar to it. This actually made the design much worse as all the force was concentrated on that one support. We went into the merger of the squads with that design.
When the two squads got together to figure out a final design, neither design was agreed upon. Both designs were experimented with further on the individual level. This however, did not produce good results. The key breakthrough was that the original design template was found to have the overall lowest score, despite it large surface area. We then realized that surface area is of relatively low importance compared to displacement.
Both designs were adapted to this new principle. It was the circular Omega design that carried through as it proved very easy to demonstrate its effectiveness. We produced several simple yet effect circle designs, the final product of which is below.
- Best overall design: