An Investigation into the Factors Affecting the Deflection of a
Spaghetti Bridge - Planning
* Preliminary Work
I have decided to investigate how different masses affect the
deflection of a spaghetti bridge. We have been given a selection of
different types of spaghetti. To find the type that will give me the
largest range of results I need to test each type to find the one with
the largest breaking force.
To do this I held the spaghetti in two clamp stands (one at each end
of the strand) and then applied a mass to the centre of the spaghetti.
Starting at 10g and increasing the mass by 10g each time. Each type of
spaghetti was cut to the same length of 20cm. I found that the
"Waitrose Italian Spaghetti" had the largest breaking force of
I predict that the deflection of the spaghetti bridge will increase
proportionally to the mass applied. I believe this because spaghetti
is an elastic material (it will return to its original shape when a
force is applied) and Hooke's law states that for elastic substances
the extension (deflection) is directly proportional to the stretching
force (mass applied). However, all materials have an elastic limit
(when too much mass is applied then it will no longer return to its
original shape) and will break. If the elastic limit is exceeded then
the deflection in no longer proportional to the mass applied.
* Hold a piece of Waitrose Italian Spaghetti in two clamp stands.
Position them so the distance between the place where the spaghetti is
attached is 20cm.
* Find the mid point ...
... middle of paper ...
... future I would attach
the mass to the spaghetti using cotton thread tied tightly so it would
To improve the experiment I would find a more accurate way of
measuring the deflection. Since using a millimetre marked ruler was
cumbersome and the spaghetti was more than 1mm thick therefore it was
difficult to decide where to measure the deflection from. I would also
find a way of preventing the ruler and hanging mass from interfering
with each other since they got in each others way during the
Additional work, which could be carried out, is to repeat the
experiment using, a wider range of lengths of spaghetti. The
investigation could also be extended to investigate other factors
affecting the deflection such as number of strands of spaghetti,
thickness of spaghetti or type of spaghetti.
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