High School Students Design Truss, Set Weight Record

Originally published by: Waynesville Daily Guide (Missouri)April 12, 2016

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Do you know what’s keeping the roof above your head rather than at your feet? The answer is a truss.

The principles of engineering class at Waynesville High School built a variety of trusses in late March to see how much weight they would hold.

Students in principles of engineering build trusses and test how much weight they can hold.

The trusses you would want to trust from Ericca Vaughns’ 7th hour class would belong to Sean Sax and Caedon McClendon. Using only four pieces of balsa wood, paper, glue, a utility knife and scissors, they made the best and strongest truss. Their truss held 148 pounds and beat teacher Vaughns’ previous class record of 140 pounds.

“I had confidence in our idea,” said Sax. “We used triangles and did the most simple model. Everyone else over-thought it and made it more complicated than it was.”

By contrast, the lowest scoring truss held only 18 pounds. Such a truss would probably not be able to keep a roof above your head.

But how much would the truss hold if it was scaled up? The teams converted all this information to see what their truss would hold in real life. Using a complex formula, each team converted their results. The 148-pound winner would hold 2,301.71 pounds.


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