As­pir­ing en­gi­neers claim award for bridge de­sign


Young Ngaru­awahia en­gi­neers in the mak­ing claimed a top award in the Aure­con Bridge Build­ing Com­pe­ti­tion.

The Ngaru­awahia High School ‘Team Bridget’ built a model bridge and won the all­rounder award against more than 40 other teams.

Their prize was $1000 to­wards the school’s tech­nol­ogy de­part­ment.

Teams were judged on the aes­thet­ics, de­sign, build, strength to weight ra­tio and the fi­nal test was how heavy of a load it could bear.

The year 10 team Mol­lie Abrams, Tiare Mahutariki and Re­becca Smith-Hall were up against teams from the Waikato and Auck­land.

Upon an­nounc­ing the award win­ners, they thought all hope was gone as they had lost out on the ef­fi­ciency and strength award.

‘‘We weren’t ex­pect­ing it be­cause we were do­ing cal­cu­la­tions to see who won... we were about to pack up and leave,’’ Tiare said.

Mol­lie and Tiare en­tered last year and came home with only the ex­pe­ri­ence which seemed to work in their favour this year.

Ma­te­ri­als were sent to them a few months be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion held on Au­gust 4 in Auck­land.

The chal­lenge was to build a model bridge with the sup­plied ma­te­ri­als of ice block sticks, card­board tube, PVA glue and string.

How­ever the girls only used the 300 sticks, a clamp­ing method, lam­i­na­tion and glue.

‘‘We drew up ev­ery in­di­vid­ual part of the bridge so we could cut the pop­si­cle sticks to the right length,’’ Tiare said.

At home they went through a process of re­search­ing de­signs and then built a tester which broke be­fore with­stand­ing the 200kg mark.

So go­ing into the compe- tition, they weren’t sure how far their bridge would go.

Turns out it was strong enough to with­stand a 218kg load, sec­ond to the Auck­land Dioce­san for Girls School which broke a record of more than 300kg.

Tiare said there was lot of math­e­mat­ics in­volved in the de­sign and build as they had to work with mea­sure­ments, an­gles and equa­tions.

But Mol­lie and Tiare said they had ex­pe­ri­ence dat­ing back to their child­hood as both their dads were in the en­gi­neer­ing busi­ness.

Mol­lie Abrams, left, Tiare Mahutariki and Re­becca Smith-Hall built the all­rounder award win­ning bridge de­sign.

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