Project Title

Balsa Wood Bridge

Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering Technology

Committee Chair

Charles Pringle

Second Committee Member

John Choi


Abstract: The objective of the project undertaken is to design and build an articulating bridge which can be raised and lowered constructed from only balsa wood. To meet the objective set forth for this project a series of requirements were set to determine the design parameters such as height, length, weight and more. Using these requirements, a series of analysis can be undertaken upon the bridge design and structure. These analyses consist of column buckling, tensile stress analysis, and compressive stress analysis. The analysis determined the dimensional requirements of the structural members to include a ½”x ½” lower support beam with varied cross sectional members being either 3/8” x 3/8” or ¼” x ¼”.These analyses allow for the demonstration of mechanical engineering principles both in design and construction methods. Work to date includes achieving construction of an articulating bridge with the ability to meet the 10 second locked raise requirement. The device constructed for this project delivered on the original objective as it is fully constructed from balsa wood while also allowing for articulation of the bridge in a vertical direction. These dimensions will allow for a load of 20 kilograms to be placed upon the structure as well as the ability to articulate vertically and remain in place for at least 10 seconds.