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Physics Honors/AP 1 and 2

Static Equilibrium

Course Materials are always under revision! Weblecture content may change anytime prior to two weeks before scheduled chat session for content.

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Physics Honors Lab

Lab: Equilibrium

Goal: To determine best way to support maximum height structure with fixed mass.



  1. Before you start, consider the basic issues in establishing equilibrium: how can you maximize stability? What happens to your center of gravity as the tower gains height?
  2. Build any structure you wish using up to 40 of your sheets at one time (the extras are in case you break one to the point where you can't use it). You may cut spaghetti to shorter lengths.
  3. The structure must support one marshmallow for at least 30 seconds before collapsing.
  4. You may redesign your structure several times, attempting each time to increase the weight-bearing capacity. (yes, you may replace spaghettin and string; just don't exceed the limits for any single tower).

Data Handling

  1. Identify each trial. Describe the structure architecture and method of construction. (For your own records, take pictures!)
  2. Note maximum height; maximum weight added just prior to collapse.


  1. Besides the normal descriptions of your materials, procedures, and data, identify two principles of construction that allowed you to increase your structure's weight-bearing capacity.

Post your report to the Lab assignment link at the Moodle.