Centre for Advanced Composite Materials

Mechanical Year 4 Beam Design and Build

The Beam Design and Build project is part of the year 4 mechanical engineering design paper every year. Students must design and construct a medium density fibreboard (MDF) beam to support as high a load as possible in what is known as a four-point bending test.

Students are given adhesive, a fixed quantity of MDF and a set of design constraints. Marks are awarded for how much load the beam takes before failure, load to mass ratio and how accurately the failure load is predicted.

The beams are tested to failure in an Instron universal testing machine, which has a fully integrated data acquisition system and can exert up to 100 kilonewtons of force - the weight of several cars.