2011 Science Olympiad Towers Event Division C

Picture of 2011 Science Olympiad Towers Event Division C
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This year I competed in the Science Olympiad Towers Event and placed 6th holding all the weight required. The rules were quite difficult to understand, and that is the main reason we only placed 6th. In the rules, it states that the load supported shall not exceed 15kg, what that ended up meaning is that they don't test to failure, they only add 15kg of weight and if it holds, they go by weight of the tower. It was annoying, because if tested to failure we would have received a higher score, but our tower ended up being overkill to hold 15kg. Next year, we will be competing in the same event again and hopefully understand next year's rules better than this year. 
Here's the order of pictures
Picture 1: The Final Product
Picture 2: The top section of the tower before modification
Picture 3: The base section of the tower strengthened with Gorilla Glue
Picture 4: The Tower before modification
Picture 5: A close-up view of the base section
Picture 6: Weighing the tower at State
Picture 7: Setting the tower up on the loading base
Picture 8: Loading the sand into the 5 gallon bucket
Pictures 9 & 10: The rules of the competition 
disapproved4 months ago
wilo2 years ago
Lol. I remember this event. My friend tried to make a tower with caving supports. The judges don't like trickery.
lemonie3 years ago

It's not the rules that need to be understood, but the scoring.
If you do some maths you find that you don't need to hold 15Kg to score highly, so long at the tower is very light.
Much thinner wood and clever design you might win either way though...

tinstructable (author)  lemonie3 years ago
Yes, the Division B Towers I saw were like this. They looked like they were made from toothpicks and were a rectangular base instead of square, and a couple of those did quite well that I saw. The only problem the kids didn't realize was that they loaded the sand more towards one side of the bucket, so their tower started to lean which caused it to fail. We were thinking with next year just to buid an ultra ultra light tower that would definetely fail, but since the weight was so little, the score would be greater, but it might not work all that well. It all depends on the scoring, rules, etc.

Yes, it's fun to work on these things. You might see if you can find engineering software to model these things (physically)?

sageserver3 years ago
i got fourth place in this event, i had an efficiency of 12 i think. first place got an efficiency of 30. You want the tower to brake... The base seems a little overkill. You can make it better by have the corners touch the middle of the sides of the square hole if you get what i mean... Our tower literally exploded once the max was reached(what you want)-shows that the base held the same amount as the tower part of it.
tinstructable (author)  sageserver3 years ago
That's weird, our efficiency must have been scored differently than yours somehow, because our score was 2 million something, and the winning score was 7 million something. The only reason our tower was overkill though is because we though it was being tested to failure. The base would have been the first to fail, and the last to fail would be the vertical tower portion. Our tower was very beefy though.
CameronSS3 years ago
Yep, I was helping out with this event a couple weeks ago when my college hosted a State tournament. You want it to just barely be able to hold the 15kg. As much as we wanted to add more sand and test some to destruction for extra points, the rules are the rules... I think the lightest tower that held the full load was under 6g.
tinstructable (author)  CameronSS3 years ago
Yes, it was interesting watching the other towers collapse though, next year we will make a couple towers so we can test for the bare minimum. The other thing we did was use Poplar, but basswood would have been lighter and stronger, but oh well.