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Earthquake-Resistant Bridge Competition for Introductory Engineer Students

By Shirley Dyke

Purdue University

Published on


This project is intended for entry level engineering students at either the freshman or sophmore level. It is appropriate for all engineering majors and is intended as a potential recruitment tool to attract students to pursue fields related to the seismic design of bridges. Student teams design a small truss bridge from balsa wood and the competition is based upon the ability to support a given gravity load while exposed to a transverse lateral motion generated by the shake table. The stated goal of the project is to use basic engineering concepts to design and build a bridge that can resist the forces induced during an earthquake. The objective is to build a small bridge from balsa wood that can withstand severe ground shaking recorded during actual earthquakes. The winning bridge is the entry that supports the highest mass while being shaken by the most severe earthquake motion.


Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Shirley Dyke (2011), "Earthquake-Resistant Bridge Competition for Introductory Engineer Students,"

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