Equilibrium Geoffrey POwell

Project One

Drawing inspiration from the work of architect/engineer, Santiago Calatrava, for the first assignment, I was given the task to design a system that would support a 1 Ib cube. The structural system was to use tension and compression, and key project constraint was that the cube had be supported solely through a system of dowels and string. In order to give the project poetics too, the cube needed to appear as if it were floating.

After many failed attempts, I realized that the closer the cube was to the base, the more it appeared to float.

Using my discovery, I cut and sanded a small dowel down until it was around 0.75 in high. The cube rests on top of the dowel, while two strings stretching from opposing sides of the cube to the edges of the base. The strings use tension to keep the cube in equilibrium on top of the dowel.

Project Two

After studying the work of Calatrava, we broadened our scope to studying trusses. Trusses are a very common structural system, particularly in bridges. So in order to study the strengths of trusses, for my second project we created a bridge using 1/8" x 1/8" dowels.

While many used a standard system of trusses, I wanted to see the creative limits of the truss. Main features of my truss was a "spine" weaving its way across the top of my bridge, along with four compressed dowels stretching from the middle of the bridge to the base of the lateral supports on each end. My primary focus was to channel forces from the center to the ends in several paths. My bridge was able to hold up to 20 Ibs, a reasonable number for my creative endeavor.

Project Three

Building off of the prior project, the third project dealt with the design of trusses. I was to design four trusses within different parameters. The four trusses were to be composed of a symmetrical truss, an asymmetrical truss, a curved truss, and a truss with a varying slope. This project helped me realize the potential and flaws of my bridge.

Clockwise from upper left: asymmetrical truss; truss with varying slopes; curved truss, and symmetrical truss.

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