Summer Savings! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
The Baltimore Sun

High school students build a bridge made of uncooked spaghetti

Min Lee, a rising junior at the Gilman School, and Chris Endryas, a rising senior at Calvert Hall College High School, built a bridge out of uncooked spaghetti and epoxy glue July 29 at the sixth annual Spaghetti Bridge Competition on atJohns Hopkins University.

Their goal: To attach weights to the bottom of the bridge to see how much it could hold without shattering.

They and their team tested the bridge for compression, tension and bending, among other material properties. They even tested the maximum axial load that a long, slender column can carry without buckling, using an engineering formula called the Euler buckling load — "if you want to put that in (this story) and make us look smart," Lee told a reporter, tongue in cheek.

Lee, of Reisterstown, and Endryas, of Nottingham, were among 85 handpicked high school students from around the world who are enrolled in a summer Engineering Innovations program at Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering. Students who earn an A or B in the course will receive three early college credits, said Meg Bentley, manager of the program, which is offered through Hopkins' Center for Educational Outreach, which is based in the engineering school.

Students from Friends and Towson High also are participating in the program.

"The course gives them a solid introduction to what engineering in college would be like," Bentley said. "We just throw it at them and see if it sticks. The idea is to expose as many kids to engineering as possible, and to get them to think for themselves. It's a problem-solving course."

Lee and Endryas said their team, which included Brandon Jones, of Woodlawn High, and Cara Plott, of Annapolis, did pretty well, with a bridge that held 8 kilograms, about 17.6 pounds. But that was far short of the effort by Zoe Roberts, of Bellingham, Wash.; Kelsey Powderly, of Rochester, N.Y., and Sarp Kurum, of Turkey. Their bridge held 34 kilograms, or about 75 pounds, before breaking.

But Lee and Endryas still had a fine time.

"It really prepares you for what college is going to be like," Lee said.

And Endryas said, "It's a lot of work, but you learn a lot."

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Spaghetti Bridge

    Spaghetti Bridge

    Tim Wetzel, an instructor for the group, watching as students balance weights on their spaghetti bridges.

  • Spaghetti Bridge

    Spaghetti Bridge

    Johnny Renzi, of Miami, gets ready to test the mettle of his spaghetti bridge during a contest for high school students from around the country at Johns Hopkins University. Students from Gilman and Friends schools participated in the event.

  • In wake of unrest, ATF puts more boots on the ground in Baltimore

    In wake of unrest, ATF puts more boots on the ground in Baltimore

    Even before the unrest in April — before rioters set fires in several city neighborhoods, before homicides reached highs not seen in decades, before local, state and federal law enforcement leaders set up a "war room" to target the most violent criminals — Baltimore was a hotbed of activity for...

  • City faced cyberattacks amid chaos and unrest on the streets

    City faced cyberattacks amid chaos and unrest on the streets

    As Baltimore remained under curfew after riots over Freddie Gray's death, a cyberattack knocked out the city's website while hackers who sympathized with protesters on the streets threatened to target the government's computer systems, according to newly released documents.

  • Emails reveal concerns, offers of help from business leaders after unrest

    Emails reveal concerns, offers of help from business leaders after unrest

    The morning after the city broke out in riots on April 27, T. Rowe Price Group CEO James A.C. Kennedy sent an email to Baltimore Deputy Mayor Colin Tarbert. Attached were two tweets, one calling for protests at T. Rowe and other major downtown businesses, and another saying "imagine if" rioters...

  • Mayor announces plan to develop arts districts

    Mayor announces plan to develop arts districts

    The city plans to bolster the Station North, Highlandtown and Bromo Seltzer Tower areas, which are Baltimore's three designated arts and entertainment districts, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office announced in a report released Friday.