Tonawanda News


March 1, 2013

Students put engineering work to the test


Tonawanda News — This year, the NT classes made a concerted effort to back away from heavier beam bridges and toward the lighter truss bridges — with mixed results Thursday.

Four schools took part, including NT, the Gow School, Pioneer High School and John F. Kennedy High School of Cheektowaga. Off the 44 total bridges, 20 were built by NT students.

As bridges were tested for their weight-bearing ability on one side of the room — some collapsed with barely a sound, some splintered and others cracked so loudly they could be heard throughout the facility — on the other side, students gathered at a table for a bridge post-mortem, inspecting their structures ... and discussing what they’d do differently next year.

Kyle Bortz, a NT junior competing for the third year, planned to find a way to strengthen the wood of his bridge, for which all the connections held but the material simply gave out .

“You can have a bridge built like a brick, but if there’s one weakness it’s not going to work,” he said. “It’s really opened my eyes to the engineering behind this.”

In the end, the top NT team of Jacob Claire, Andrew Walck and Travis Sikora finished fifth, with a score of 31.0. Their 20.15-oz. bridge held 36 pounds before giving out, but still remained relatively pristine.

“We tried a new thing with only truss bridges and no beams,” Walck said, inspecting the trio’s lightweight structure.

“... but we got beat by a brick,” added Walck.

Steven Andrzejewski of Pioneer High School won with a score of 34.3.

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