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Spaghetti Bridge Holds Whopping 138 pounds

Future Engineers Put Noodles to the Test

July 28, 2014

young man with falling spaghetti bridge

Sean Pak, left, watches as his team’s spaghetti bridge plummets to the ground after succumbing to the hefty weights placed on it. CSUF alumna Beena Ajmera, right, a doctoral candidate at Virginia Tech, served as an Engineering Innovation teaching fellow.

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Family and friends cheered as weight was added to bridges made of only pasta and glue — then let out big sighs as they snapped into pieces, coming up short in a test of strength and engineering ingenuity.

Of 12 teams of high school students, one team came out on top with a record-breaking weight of 138 pounds and took first place in the Engineering Innovation Spaghetti Bridge Contest, held July 25 on campus.

The competition capped the four-week Engineering Innovation program, a partnership between Cal State Fullerton and Johns Hopkins University. This summer, 48 high school students from across the region, state and nation participated to learn more about becoming engineers.

The winning bridge was built within the engineering specifications and had no weight or height penalties, said Binod Tiwari, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and one of the program's instructors. The team's bridge also held the most weight of all the bridges built for competitions held at Engineering Innovation's 14 nationwide program sites, said Tiwari.

The student engineers who built the winning bridge are incoming high school seniors Alex Clark of Gahr High School in Cerritos; Tianrui Guo of Northwood High School in Irvine; and Bobbie Chen and Johnny Mok of Walnut High School in Walnut.

"I can't believe we broke a record. It gives us a good sense of achievement," said Clark of Long Beach, who aspires to become an engineer.

For more photos of the competition, visit online.

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