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Re: Career Day Presentation

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I used the West Point program a few years ago.  I started with a simple bridge model that would immediately collapse and then progress through a series of stronger models until the truck made it across.  The kids loved the truck falling down with the bridge sagging. 

There was a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon several years ago on bridge loading.  Calvin asks his dad how they rate bridges and he responds that they drive trucks over the bridge, each one being heavier than the one before it.  When truck X collapses the bridge, they know the rating and just rebuild the bridge.  If anyone wants the cartoon, I may still have the scanned jpeg.

Rich Kipke wrote:
the West Point bridge design contest software might give a nice and simple graphical demonstration of a failure . . then beef up a size to show how we make it work.

Rich Kipke

On Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 11:23 AM, Christopher Wright <chrisw(--nospam--at)> wrote:

On Jan 27, 2010, at 8:27 AM, Patrick Busick wrote:

I’ve never really done this before. I asked my wife, but she really doesn’t know anything that is prepared beforehand and nothing specifically about structural engineering.
I've done it a couple of times, including for my own kids. I've always found that properly chosen horror stories work real well. Destruction really catches the eye, even if it's just a tinker toy model. Finite element models look whizzy but only for a few minutes. So you should probably have several with different deflection plots, all animated.  When you get into explaining why you're doing it, eyes tend to glaze over. I had my best luck when there was something to pick up or climb around.

Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)   | this distance" (last words of Gen.
.......................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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