Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: Tower Trusses

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
how can you make tower the strongest by using trusses and the other things? (only with woods, and glues, and tapes?)
- Shawn
Georgia O’keeffe elementary school , Albuqurque,nm, Uni
A:
Shawn -

Trusses are very frequently used for building things like towers and bridges. This is because they are constructed out of triangle shapes. Triangles are a great shape to use for this because a triangle cannot change shape without changing the length of at least one side. The sticks used usually are rigid enough to prevent their lengths from changing. In contrast, a square can flop into a skinnier shape without changing any side lengths, so its strength depends on making the joints between the sides strong and rigid, which is not so easy.

There are a number of different kinds of because there are many different ways to arrange triangles. Which kind is best depends on the situation - the shape of the tower, what sort of stresses it's likely to be under, etc. If you are building a tower for a project, you can try experimenting with different arrangements of triangles to see what works best.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-up on this answer.