Who Will Break Under Pressure?

Posted on October 31, 2012 | By kayla
Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade Physics Science Fair Project
Photo Source: mainelytrusses.com

Interested in physics and engineering? Check out this great science fair project completed Selah School District sixth grader, Scotty G. The roof truss system is a crucial part in the home construction process with the truss type used largely affected by the roof span, calculated weight load {taking into consideration both the weight of the materials used and the projected snow drifting}, and wind load or the pressure a roof must endure when the wind is blowing against it. After researching roof structure, Scotty was interested in finding out, all else being equal, which type of truss - the Graf-post, King-post, and Queen-post trusses - would hold the most mass before breaking under the pressure.

Making models of all three truss types from thin balsa wood, Scotty used a Vernier force plate to measure the Newtons of force sustained by each model before they failed. [NOTE: We weren't familiar with the technology and upon further investigation, noticed that it can be quite pricey. Selah School District sixth grader, Camdon A., did a similar project, but used another method to measure the force sustained. You may wish to check out his project for a more affordable method of measure!]

For the full project write-up, including the experiment design and results, be sure to visit Scotty's project page! 

About kayla

Happily authoring posts about lesson plans, crafts, unique bulletin board ideas, and other helpful resources for SupplyMe since 2008.