Posts Tagged ‘balsa wood’

2014 Odyssey of the Mind Problem #4 “The Stackable Structure” Uses Balsa Wood & Glue

February 4th, 2014
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Each year creative students, from elementary school through college, participate in Odyssey of the Mind programs around the world.  Aspiring engineering students often choose the Balsa Wood and Glue structure building, weight bearing problem.  This year, as in year’s past, the Balsa Wood & Glue problem is being sponsored by Nasa.  Here’s the problem synopsis:

Problem 4:  The Stackable Structure

Teams will design and build a structure made up of separate components stacked on top of one another.  The structure components will be made of only balsa wood and glue, and will be tested by balancing and supporting weights after they are stacked.  Teams will be scored for the number of components they use in their final structure.  Before they are stacked, the separate components will be integrated into an artistic representation of the Earth.  The team will include the stacking of the components, placement of the weights, and Earth into the theme of its performance.

You can see from the specific instructions that there are many problem-solving challenges involved with this particular structure building project.  One of the important decisions all teams will make is what glue they use to build their structure.  We recommend our ZAP CA glues (preferably medium viscosity although this is something teams should test on their own prior to building their competition-grade structure).  Here is an excellent video showing the best way to cut the balsa wood and apply the cyanoacrylate (CA) to the joints.  Note:  We love the tip of using the packing tape as a surface on which to apply the glue as the balsa wood and super glue can be lifted off of the packing tape with little or no sticking!  We also recommend using Zip Kicker as the accelerator for the ZAP CAs.

[Video Credit:  NC Science Olympiad:  How to Glue Balsa]

We encourage Odyssey of the Mind teams working on this challenge to share your stories with us as you progress through the local, state, national and international competitions.  Good luck to all!!  We support your willingness to take on these creative, problem-solving challenges in an effort to expand your thinking skills!!

Balsa Wood Super Glue Bridge Project – Challenge For Students

March 15th, 2010
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balsa-bridge-2[Photo Credit:  Green Hobby Model]

Here’s a fun, competitive, project idea for creative engineer students of almost any age.

The challenge:  Create the best (weight-bearing) engineered bridge, of any group, using:

– (20) 2 foot long pieces of balsa wood
Super Glue*
– Cutting Knives*

*adult supervision required

The competition can be structured a variety of ways, but it is most fun when students are divided into teams, with two to four students on each team. The collaborative, synergy of the group often produces the best results.

Schools can add to the excitement by making sure the event is covered in the local newspaper like Gulf Shores Middle School did in this article.

Every year there is a Technology Student Association competition in the county. Each school brings three teams of two students to the competition which is about structural engineering. They get to use 20 pieces of two-foot balsa wood, a cutting blade, and Super Glue, to create a bridge design no bigger than eight inches long and three inches wide. They also have to put it together in only two hours. After all the projects are done the judges have to test them to see if they are eligible. The judges test the projects by using a bridge tester which will pull down the bridge to see how much weight it can hold.”

There is no better way of learning than by doing!! We applaud schools, and clubs, that offer students challenging, hands-on projects like these to help teach complex concepts!

Send us some pictures of how you used Super Glue Corporation products to construct your balsa wood bridge (be sure to detail how the bridge held up to the weight and which super glue product worked best for you) and you may win some sample products!