The Annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition
The Annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition (PSBC), now in its 27th annual year, is an event for high school students that is hosted by ASCE's Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Bernardino/Riverside Younger Member Forums (YMF). O.C. Y.M.F. was the main event organizer this year with assistance from L.A. Y.M.F.. This year, due to COVID-19, the bridges were judged remotely and presentations were pre-recorded and submitted online to ensure social distancing standards and practices were being followed.
Students were able to tune-in to a live YouTube feed and watch as committee chair organizers from OC and LA YMF judged their work. The competition was fierce with approximately 20 different teams and 75 students overall competing. Teams were awarded points in 4 different categories: bridge strength and efficiency, workmanship, presentation, and the technical report. While the goal is to get as many points as possible, everyone is most excited to see who’s bridge can withstand the most load before breaking. The judges tested each bridge to the point of failure with a loading apparatus that applied a downward force at the center of the bridge. While the peak load that a bridge can sustain before failing is important; an equally important measure is how much the bridge itself weighs. The ratio of peak load to weight determines the bridge’s efficiency.
The live stream lasted almost 2 hours with many dramatic moments as students witnessed how their designs held up to the load. The overall winners were announced at the end of the live stream and were as follows: Bravo Team 4 from Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School took home the first place prize with Bravo Team 2 from the same high school taking second place and CHIPS Faith Trust and Pixie Dust from City Honors International Prep School receiving third place. Congratulations to all the teams that participated and we look forward to seeing you all again next year!