5 Things Lego Blocks Can Teach You About Structural Engineering


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Tension and Compression

Some bridges seem like they defy physics, with massive pieces suspended midair. It turns out the same concept that makes this possible also works on a smaller scale with Lego projects at home.

Tension (the pulling forces on materials) and compression (the pressure on materials), give many structures a floating effect. For Lego lovers, you can try suspend portions of structures by creating your own arches and bridges. Truss bridges, in particular, use tension and compression to get the job done. It's also important to keep in mind your material's stiffness, as it will give more or less when under additional pressure.

Click ahead for more tips on structural engineering of the Lego variety.

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Sources

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  • USFIRST.org. "U.S. FIRST: About Us." (Sept. 10, 2011) http://www.usfirst.org/aboutus/vision
  • Vamplew, Peter. "LEGO Mindstorms Robots as a Platform for Teaching Reinforcement Learning." International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Science and Technology. 2004 (Sept. 10, 2011) http://eprints.utas.edu.au/104/
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