Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Toothpick-bridge Building
Name: andrew d bauch
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

I am constructing a bridge made of toothpicks. That is the best possible design that would hold the most weight?

I once had to do this for an engineering class project except that we used balsa wood and had to span a specified length (perhaps yours is the same). I remember the student that won (which unfortunately was not me) used all of his wood to make two simple members. He measured carefully the position of the loading point relative to that of each supporting end of the span. He designed a supporting device for the weight that was added an two "feet" that fit snugly against the sides of the loading device. He also put layers of glue on his two members after he glued them together. With the layers of glue, it was almost a composite material of wood and glue. You might use some of these ideas, along with your own imagination.

david r munoz

Click here to return to the Engineering Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory