Yes. The Vernier Structures & Materials Tester (VSMT) was specifically designed to be used in bridge-building competitions. It has a 1000-N force sensor/load cell and also measures displacement of the structure. Experiment files have been developed for Logger Pro to facilitate competitions and structure prototyping.
We also have software developed specifically to run competitions. There are versions for Windows and macOS. You can download the Vernier Bridge Competition Software at https://www.vernier.com/downloads/bridge-competition-software/.
You can also take a “do-it-yourself” approach using our Force Plate (FP-BTA), which measures forces up to 3500 N (787 lbs). To use a Force Plate to test the bridges in a normal orientation with the force applied downward, build a wooden rig shaped like a squared up letter “U”. The bridge should sit across the top to sections of the wooden rig. The rig is placed on our Force Plate so that the force is read as you press down.
Regardless of the sensor you use, you can do all of the following with our data-collection software:
- Plot graphs of force vs. time as the force is applied.
- Determine the maximum breaking force.
- Save and print out results for contestants to show to friends and family.
- With Logger Pro 3, if you record a movie of the bridge testing, you can replay the movie synced with the graph of force vs. time.
- With Logger Pro 3, you can also set up a column to display the maximum force and turn on a large digital meter for all the students to see (this can help build suspense).