Island 2 Engino Building Bridges

Mechanics and Structures

POP students are challenged to learn about what it takes to build a strong structure. Building their own bridge models based on what they learn.


Island 2 Engino Building Bridges

Bridge Design with Engino

What is a Bridge?

A bridge is a structure that spans a landform in order to provide passage over an obstacle.

  • They can cross a variety of landforms, such as valleys or crevasses, streets, and bodies of water (rivers or lakes).

  • They can be built to accommodate many loads, including cars, pedestrians, trains, bikes, and animals.

  • There are many different types of bridges. The chosen design depends on several factors:

    • The length needed

    • Whether it crosses over water, a valley, a street, or some other obstacle

    • Available materials

    • General location

    • Potential maintenance

Types of Bridges

Bridge types generally fall into four categories: 1) Beam, 2) Truss, 3) Suspension, and 4) Arch

Beam Bridge

This design uses a single beam across a deck supported by piers. Piers can be used to support the deck at points in the middle of the span between the two end piers. Beam bridges are simple to construct but not very rigid. For this reason, they are not generally used for spans greater than about 250 feet.

Truss Bridge

A truss bridge uses structural trusses to add strength and disperse forces across many points.

Trusses can be used to strengthen arch and suspension bridges. 

Suspension Bridge

In this complex structure, the bridge deck is held up by suspender cables that experience tension. The compression forces act on the pier towers. The pier towers also serve as anchor points for the cables throughout the span of the bridge.

Because they are held up mainly by flexible cables, suspension bridges also tend to move, both vertically (up and down) and laterally (side to side), under the influence of heavy moving loads or strong wind. 

Arch Bridge

These bridges offer natural strength by redirecting much of the downward pressure outwards. Though very unstable until the two sides are actually connected, arch bridges have withstood the “span” of time.