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Arch Bridge

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Use the wooden blocks to build a bridge. Holding on to the hand rail, see if the bridge will bear your weight.

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The blocks are wedge-shaped, so when you stand on the bridge, the wedges are squeezed into the gap. Provided the side pieces don’t move apart, the bridge stays up.

Forces in action

It's all about the arch shape of a bridge; the arch is a very strong shape. If force is applied from above, the force pressing down spreads along the line of bricks, pushing them together to the take the weight. Applying a force from a different direction has a very different result.

Paper bridge?

Can you really make a bridge from paper that a car can drive over?

Eggs and Arches

Try crushing an egg by holding it at the top and bottom. Its very hard to do. This is because like arch bridges, eggs spread out forces that are put on them. They are strongest at the top and bottom, if this didn't happen chickens wouldn't be able to sit on them.

Videos 3 years ago

Constructing a vaulted ceiling

Physics in action in the building of a vaulted ceiling - from hand!

Arch Bridge

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Arch Bridge Visitor Sheet

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Look Closer

Welcome to Look Closer, Techniquest's brand new digital tool. We're trialling Look Closer as a way of offering you a closer look at the science demonstrated by many of our exhibits. You'll find visitor sheets, videos, articles on contemporary science as well as fun trails to navigate your way around the exhibition space.

Speak to our Science Communicators to find out more.