​Building bridges with……spaghetti?

Is it possible to build a bridge that can hold up to 150 times its own weight using only spaghetti and glue? Plenty of teams attempted the challenge on May 11, 2015 at the annual Spaghetti Bridge building Competition.

Sponsored by Practische Studie, the association of civil engineering students at TU Delft, the first such contest was held in 1999. According to civil engineering student and event secretary Fiona Hoogsteder, the event is intended not only to stage a fun competition, but for people to learn something about the construction of bridges. “A product like spaghetti can achieve a lot as construction material if used in the right way,” she said.

The contest consisted of two parts, a pofessional competition and a day building competition. In the first part, teams of companies or students had the opportunity to build a bridge before the actual day of the event. Having unlimited time to prepare, teams needed to construct a bridge spanning one meter. Those bridges were then tested and the one with the highest strength ratio (own mass vs. number of kilograms it can hold before breaking) won the contest. Arthe Civil & Structure, the only company to enter the professional competition this year, came in with an impressive 79% ratio. Weighing in at just one kilogram, their bridge could hold just over 80 kilograms of weight. The team Phoetsol Brug topped the student-built entries for the professional contest with a bridge that weighed 1.14 kg. Able to hold 62 kg, this bridge scored a 54% ratio.

During the second part of the contest, student teams competed against each other to build a bridge in just three hours. Each team was required to have four or five members and they received two glue guns for the challenge. The requirements for this part of the contest were less stringent, but excessive use of glue was not permitted. And at the end of the day, the strength ratio was still the deciding factor. This year’s winner of the day building contest was a team called Korte gang. Weighing just over 102 grams itself, their bridge was able to support 6.13 kilograms, a 59.8%ratio.

Though most of the participants were civil engineering students, there were some art school students involved this year. Regardless of the outcome, there was an atmosphere of teamwork, creativity and competitive spirit during the event.

For more information about the annual contest visit

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