* Science Bound
* School of Civil Engineering

March 9, 2007

Science Bound to break bridges at Shreve Hall

2004 Bridge Bust competition
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It's usually not advisable to break the bridges one builds, but that's exactly what five teams of Science Bound students from Indianapolis Public Schools plan to do on March 23.

Students from Emmanuel, Howe Academy, Key Learning Center and Arlington high schools in Indianapolis will compete against teams from other central Indiana high schools to build and then break bridges in the Bridge Bust contest. The annual competition, administered by the Purdue University chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at Shreve Residence Hall, 1275 Third St.

Other Indiana high schools that will sponsor teams include Benton Central in Oxford, Andrean in Merrillville, Noblesville High School in Noblesville, Frontier High School in Chalmers, Hamilton Heights High School in Arcadia, Plymouth High School in Plymouth and Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis.

Teams will assemble the bridges from 20 sticks of balsa wood and a bottle of glue. Most bridges are approximately 2 feet long and 8 inches high.

Bridges will be judged on their loading efficiency, aesthetic qualities and structural concepts. Loading efficiency will be determined by pouring sand into buckets that will be hanging from the bridges. The bridge that can hold the most weight wins that category.

Kevin Mueller, a Purdue sophomore from Granger, Ind., who is majoring in civil engineering, said the competition provides Science Bound students with valuable hands-on experience.

"The purpose of the competition is to inspire interest in engineering and give students the opportunity to explore one of the many areas of civil engineering," Mueller said. "The Science Bound program allows students from Indianapolis Public Schools to participate in science and technology related activities here at Purdue. We have worked with Science Bound for many years now and look forward to working with them in the future."

Mueller and co-chair David Papineau, a sophomore from Indianapolis who also is a civil engineering major, will present awards to the winners in each category.

Wesley Campbell, Science Bound director, said he is eager to see if the bridges can hold their weight.

"This event is a favorite with the Science Bound students," Campbell said. "Some of the seniors will begin their engineering studies at Purdue next fall. By participating in Bridge Bust, they'll have a better idea of what the field of civil engineering involves."

Science Bound, a program initiated by Purdue President Martin C. Jischke, mentors eighth-grade to 12th-grade Indianapolis Public Schools students and encourages them to take classes in preparation for future careers in science, engineering, technology, agriculture and math-science education. Upon acceptance, Science Bound students receive an opportunity to earn a full-tuition scholarship to Purdue to study in an approved technical field.

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

Sources: Wesley Campbell, (765) 494-0018,

Kevin Mueller, (574) 210-3539,

David Papineau, (765) 495-2870,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

 Note to Journalists: The media are invited to take photos and video footage of the competition. To make arrangements, contact Marydell Forbes, Purdue News Service, (765) 496-7704,

Science Bound students Jea-Lissa Harvey and David Howard, from the Key Learning Center High School in Indianapolis, react as their bridge collapsed during the 2004 Bridge Bust competition. High school teams built bridges that were judged based on aesthetic qualities and structural concepts, as well as on how much weight the structures could carry before collapsing. (Purdue News Service file photo/Dave Umberger)

A publication-quality file photo is available at

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