Pub engineering

Ever wondered what happens when engineers go to the pub? We get uncontrollable bridge building urges. We tried to build a bridge between two tables using the fewest beer mats. Before reading on, take a guess what we got it down to.

Here is our original bridge, which was a corbel arch design. It consumed about thirty beer mats.

The green mats are shaped like a capital B, so they can be locked together. So we were down to twenty-ish.

If you form the bridge into my “snake” design, you can get rid of the weights at the ends and reduce the mats used down to ten.

That seemed like a good design, but actually having a weights works better as the bridge is straight and even. So we are now down to nine mats (it stayed up without my hand there).

If you let the bridge sag a little and allow the ends to twist you can cut form it using eight.

Martin then suggests flipping the direction of the B links half way across the bridge and we were down to seven.

Some careful balancing and you can get it to be stable with just six mats.

If you push the B links into each-other the mats will tear a little and lock together. This way you can alternate the links and make a bridge with five mats. Also in the photo is Andrew’s zipper double bridge.

If tearing is allowed, I take it to the natural conclusion of locking the mats together with small cuts. Sudden leap forward as we have a three mat bridge.

Tear each mat in two and link the parts to make a bridge with two mats.

You can rip a single mat into a continuous strip which makes you rope bridge.

Now that it is so lightweight, you can span the distance with half a mat. Martin is declared the winner.

So that was our final design. Once you go into fractional beer mats, it gets a little hard to measure. We also created made a bit of a mess.

Thanks go to the Ducie Arms who supplied us with the mats and tidied up after we left.

    • Rahul Mehra (ex-APT)
    • December 23rd, 2010

    Beers and engineering with smart people. A perfect evening by my standards

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