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Arches - how strong are they?Featured science projectScience project video

Conclusion

The hypothesis that larger arches are able to withstand a heavier load is proven to be true to a certain extent only. As the curve of the arch increases, so does the surface tension on the upper surface of the plywood, leading to breakage.

Arches have been used in construction since the 2nd millennium BC by the Mesopotamians. Ancient arch bridges built by the Romans are still structurally sound and some of them are still standing today.
 

Also consider

The science fair project can be repeated by varying the type of wood used.

The experiment can be repeated by varying the width of the plywood used.

References

Arch - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arch

How bridges work? - http://science.howstuffworks.com/bridge6.htm
 

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Complexity level:
6
Project cost ($):
70
Time required:
1 day for preparation 1 day for science fair project
Material availability:
May be obtained from a hardware store
Safety concerns:

Sawing should be performed by an adult wearing proper safety gear.