Truss Bridge FE Analysis Using SolidWorks

The purpose of this assignment is to use find the maximum force and point(s) of failure of a design.  A 50cm long truss bridge made out of birch popsicle sticks is to be built using Solidworks before building the real thing. A weight will be hung across the 1/3 section of the bridge.

The Bridge Design

Using Solidworks, I designed my bridge with reversed triangles starting at the point at which the force would be applied. This should carry the stress along the top beams and distribute the weight throughout the bridge.

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I ran a simulation to find the maximum force that can be applied before failure. I was also able to determine the point of failure in the design. According to Solidworks, bridge will break at the point of stress at 70kg.

Truss Bridge_stress

The building of the real bridge was difficult because many of the popsicle sticks were warped and were not glued on perfectly straight. Theoretically, if the glue does not fail, the bridge should break because the popsicle sticks break

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Test Results

The bridge broke exactly where Solidworks predicted. The glue did not fail so both bottom beams broke because the popsicle sticks snapped in half. The actual bridge weight 136g and withstood 46kg, which is almost 340 times it’s own weight!

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