Hampton students achieve suspenseful success

11:00 am | November 7, 2013
Photo by Brandon Hicks

Brendon Arwood and Alaxx Hogan hold their balsa wood bridge that won first place at UTK’s Engineering Day.

Two Hampton High School seniors had to overcome a potentially disqualifying hurdle, but still captured first place in the 2013 Balsa Wood Bridge Competition during the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Engineering Day in late October.

Right out of the box, Alaxx Hogan and Brendon Arwood found that their structure had been damaged during transit.

Knowing the damaged bridge could not perform the upcoming task for which it was built, the students scoured the campus for tools to help them piece the bridge back together.

“Whenever we went to unbox it, part of it was broken off,” Hogan said. “We were lucky enough that someone else had a spare piece of balsa wood to lend us and some wood glue.”

Arwood said they had about a hour to patch the bridge before the competition started.

This balsa wood bridge broke a second time for the win. It was able to hold 63 pounds and weighs 30 grams.

This balsa wood bridge broke a second time for the win. It was able to hold 63 pounds and weighs 30 grams.

“We went all around the campus trying to find a good heating element,” Hogan said. “We even went into bathrooms to find a jet blow dryer, but we couldn’t find one.”

Finally, Hogan said another student was able to provide them with a heat gun in time for the competition. The students repaired the bridge, only to have it break again.

But this time it was for the win.

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