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Thayer Central physics team wins state bridge building title

The Thayer Central Physics class traveled to Aurora on Saturday, March 2, to compete in the 34th Annual Nebraska Model Bridge Contest held at the Edgerton Explorit Center.

Trenton Tietjen, who’s bridge showed the second-best efficiency, led the squad to the state championship.

The bridges are built of 3/32” by 3/32” basswood and glue to meet very specific regulations. They spanned a gap of 30 cm (about 12 inches) and were no longer than 40 cm (15.75 in). The maximum width was 8 cm (3 in).

One side of the testing platform was one centimeter lower than the other side, yet the roadway of the bridge had to be level. The bridge was tested at the center of the roadway; however, the designs were built to allow for testing at locations 5 cm left and right of the center.  The biggest challenge was the maximum weight of 25 grams (0.88 ounces).

The three bridges from Thayer Central met all of these qualifications and performed well, said Thayer Central physics instructor Bryan Solomon. Of the 24 entries, Thayer Central’s bridges placed second, third and fourth to win overall with a total efficiency of 7,237.8.

The winning bridge is determined by calculating its efficiency which is found by dividing the amount of weight the bridge held by the actual weight of the bridge. The efficiencies are then combined for a team score.

The bridge built by Trenton Tietjen weighed 12.5 grams and held 74.4 pounds with an efficiency of 2,699.8 and placed second.

The bridge built by Kalen Wenske and Dalton Kenning weighed 14 grams and held 75.3 pounds with an efficiency of 2,439.7 and placed third.

The bridge built by Brian Loontjer and John Kyker weighed 14.7 grams and held 68 pounds with an efficiency of 2,098.3 and placed fourth.

There were 34 bridges in the competition.  The winning bridge, built by Alex Fritz of West Holt/Atkinson, weighed 13.4 grams and held 116.8 pounds with an efficiency of 3,731.4.

The total efficiencies are added to rank the schools entered.

As a runner-up in the state contest, Tietjen qualified for the 2013 International Bridge Building Contest to be held at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, April 27.

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