Students add weight to their spaghetti bridge

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University


A bridge too farfalle

High school students in the summer Engineering Innovation program at Johns Hopkins use their noodles to build bridge structures out of spaghetti and epoxy to test their engineering know-how

On Friday, more than 175 high school students gathered on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus to test the the structural integrity of spaghetti noodles in a time-honored tradition: the Explore Engineering Innovation annual Spaghetti Bridge Competition.

Held each year at the end of the EEI summer program, the Spaghetti Bridge Competition challenges students to build a bridge structure out of dry noodles and epoxy. They then test their structures by applying weights until the bridges collapse. This year's winning team's structure held nearly 94 pounds, adjusted after applying a height penalty (their unadjusted total reached 97 pounds).

Offered by the Whiting School of Engineering Center for Educational Outreach, the Explore Engineering Innovation program brings together U.S. and international students for a college-level course that explores concepts from civil engineering, chemical engineering, electrical/computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and materials science. Students learn to think and problem-solve like engineers and have the opportunity to earn Johns Hopkins University credit. In addition to the in-person EEI program, for which the Spaghetti Bridge Competition is the culmination, there is also an online program and a program dedicated to Biomedical Engineering.