For the Mentis Bridge Building Competition, teams of students were given limited instructions and guidance on structural design. They were encouraged to ask questions and research design techniques.
The bridge design requirements were:
Using scientific methods, students performed coupon testing to determine optimal bond length and learn the capabilities of the materials. For example, the supplied hot glue is very compliant, resulting in joints being the weak points of the structure if there was not sufficient bonding area between members.
Bridges were tested in a Tinius Olsen load frame using a 500 lb load cell.
Students were required to predict the point of failure before testing by marking it with marker.
Each bridge was loaded until failure, recording load and time.