On Oct. 19 and 20, Physics students at the school put their wooden tower projects to the test, having to withstand 5 pounds of weight for 2 minutes straight without collapsing.
The towers, according to the assignment, had to be 20cm x 20cm at the base and 1 meter tall in height. To receive an A, the towers had to weigh under 70g. An annual tradition at the school, it’s one of two main physics projects each year, along with the famed “mouse trap car.”
The towers are generally made out of balsa and bass wood. The wood is prominent for being sturdy despite it’s featherweight-type density. Students usually use standard wood glue to construct it, but other materials such as fishing line are also used by many to secure the structure. Students had the chance to work on their own or with a partner.
It’s commonplace among the students that bystanders urge the participants to add more and more weight to the point where the tower collapses. The sequence generally goes: the tower bends slightly, there’s a loud snap, and the weights come plummeting to the floor with a loud bang, with a loud “Whoa!” from the students.
Since the rooms of the Physics teachers (Eisenhauer, Messina, and Liberatore) are all on the second floor, the collapsing of the towers is sure to be heard by the rooms below, a classic trademark of “Tower Day.”
Because of the flexibility of the rules, each tower has it’s own unique design, materials, weight, and shape; however, most are rectangular or pyramidal in nature. Although the students usually put hours of hard work into the project, most express their appreciation for it by holding their own demolition derby after completing the required test.
As always, the day was a towering success.