Millenium project ‘The Challenge of Materials Bridge’

The challenge of materials bridge

The Challenge of Materials Bridge was a millenium project. 

The challenge for the architects was to suspend a bridge constructed from glass planks weighing 8 tons suspended by 186 piano wires. The wires arranged into 8 groups, each group fastened to a fail safe load cell which supports the 16m span bridge over the bustling reception area of the Science Museum in Kensington London, England.

The Challenge for Synectic

Having successfully designed the structure the architects wanted it to have an even greater visual impact and an interactive element The bridge is suspended at each corner by a load cell. The load cells have a signal connection to one of our SY011 load cell amplifiers which enable the measurement of weight and changing stresses as the public pass across the bridge to access the exhibits around the various galleries. As visitors step onto the bridge a sound and light show is produced. It is very pretty and great fun. It is really a very small part of what the system is really capable of. We would have loved it if they had asked us to do more, in terms of science and education it could have given details and quizzes. 


In real world situation such structures and systems on road and rail bridges are vital engineering information offering safety information that informs maintenance requirements and the potential for life saving alarms. But we are always proud when we visit London to see Synectic Electronic products, which have been in continuous use since 1999, as part of such a nationally prestigious project.