Canadian Consulting Engineer

Popsicle bridge holds up under 2,733 kilograms

March 22, 2010
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from McMaster University won the 26th annual Troitsky Bridge Building Co...

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from McMaster University won the 26th annual Troitsky Bridge Building Competition. In doing so, they unseated reigning title-holders Cégep de Chicoutimi and ended its six-year consecutive win streak.
They were one of six teams competing from McMaster and 30 overall from 11 Canadian and U.S. universities. The competition was held March 5 during Engineering Month at Concordia University in Montreal.
The Troitsky Bridge Building Competition began in the 1960s when Michael Troitsky, a professor of civil engineering at Concordia, worked with his students to build scale models of bridges they were studying.
The competition requires that each team design and build a bridge with an open span of one metre composed solely of Popsicle sticks, white glue, dental floss and toothpicks and can weigh no more than six kilograms.
The most feared category is the Ultimate Load Carrying Capacity test, which sees a device nicknamed the Crusher apply loads of up to 6,000 pounds.
The Crusher proved no match for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as their bridge required it to be recalibrated mid-crush. The team’s bridge achieved a total carrying capacity of 2,733 kg, exceeding the 6,000 pound threshold and beating the previous event record by over 200 kg.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is comprised of: Darren Berwick (captain), Matthew Turner, Brandon Kadoski, Zane Kharas, Daniel Perri, and Neil Isenegger.
They won $1,100 in prize money as well as the coveted Troitsky trophy. This is the first time that McMaster has taken home the trophy in its 26 year history.
“So often in engineering there is a disconnect between the theory of what we learn in class and the real world applications,” said Berwick. “Competitions such as Troitsky allow us to bridge that gap while pushing the limits of materials and design. … The future is bright and we look forward to pushing the boundaries even farther in the years to come.”
Other results for McMaster teams included 5th for The Suspenders, 13th for Lions Gate Bridge Super Tigers, 14th for Shear Luck, 21st for Heavy Load, and 24th for Reinforced JAJARS.
In true gentlemanly fashion, the team acknowledged the many people who helped them in their quest for victory, including staff in the Department of Civil Engineering, the machinists in the student machine shop, and the technicians at the Applied Dynamics Laboratory.


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