The Pasta Saga Ends on a good note.

Making Pasta History the SolidWorks Way

                                                                                                                                                          By Richard Williams 5/22/2008

         Moving right along these days in the world of Static Stress Testing of Pasta, leaves me gaining on the information I need to provide to a couple of university professors that are interested in my work.  I know that I am making historic gains here simply because no one else (in their right mind) would do it this way and that puts me into a totally new class of junior scientists that have white robes on, with arm strings tied around the backside.  We testing scientists of this caliber also can test things without proper testing equipment.  Our laboratories have nice padded walls and if anything does go wrong we are shielded from harm.  Wow!  What nice working conditions.  None of this is true of course because my garage gets turned into my testing lab pumpkin as soon as my son leaves for work and my “honey do list” gets done.  Then I turn into that mad scientist with pencil, pad and ruler.  The setting up for the test is not the hardest part of doing this.  What actually is the hardest part is finding out a basal level or starting point stress, to start the test at.  Pasta itself is not always consistent when manufactured and there are some slight variations and sometimes big differences in the strength of the material when being tested.  Because of the various tests that had to be done, I realized that one procedure was not going to fit the Chef’s menu for all things being tested for.  Right out of the three boxes of Barilla Fettuccini Pasta, I noticed some problems.  First look for a box that was not dropped, crushed or mishandled and this is how you find out.  There is a little cellophane window in the front that will reveal if the pasta is all broken up.  Alternate the ends of the box up in the air and if you see a lot of pieces go sliding by tell the person watching you do this in the store, that you are looking for bugs and that you are a bug inspector.  Or tell them the truth about what you are going to do with it and they might call those special people in those nice white suits.  One supermarket checkout lady asked me if I needed any sauce to go with the Fettuccini and she was still laughing after I told her what it was going to be used for when I left with my change.  Some people. 

         When I first started testing this pasta I was doing a static stress test on an 8” I-beam so it was a straight down type of force and it really held up remarkably well.  Something that only weighs in at 4 grams and that supported a really heavy weight of:  (Figures taken out of a previous article submission.)

Summary for I-beam test will be considered at an average of the five test beams and it calculates to be = 771.20 grams or 0.7712 kilograms or 27.2033 oz., or 1.7002 lbs., for this part of the testing of the bridge components. Remarkable. 

       When you think about this for a minute and take the four gram weight of the I-beam (less than the weight of a lot of ball point pens) and divide it into the 771.20 grams of averaged weight that it supported, it means that this component of my bridge can support 192.8 times its own weight, rounded off to the nearest tenth.  To put it another way, this little 4 gram weighted I-beam configuration can support a truly amazing 1.7002 lbs.  This is indeed a remarkable strength factor exhibited by Fettuccini Pasta when assembled into an I-beam shape. 

       Well the Bridge is built, the testing is done, the findings submitted to the world and only one thing is left to do.  It now needs to be tested or rescued from destructive testing.  Many people have asked me to forgo the testing because once destroyed it cannot serve as an inspiration to others.  An art teacher I know said, “what good would destroying it do?”  Can’t it be done virtually or by computer analysis?  She is a retired art teacher yet she knows about this kind of testing?  I find that to be as remarkable as my test results.  She is a great lady and I’m learning many things from her.  But contrarily, statements from some engineers and others say, “it needs to be tested to prove certain pasta testing strength data.”   Now let me tell you what happened today.  The Mechanical Engineering Department at UNLV or the University of Las Vegas wants my bridge.  They want to display it in the Great Hall.  I have no idea where that is or even what it means.  The only experience I have had with universities is when I was building them.  Truly, it is a perplexing problem to solve and I do not have any experience here to deal with it.  However, there are a few UNLV professors that would rather put it on display and since they did encourage me to finish up this project I must let them have it.  So it will not be subjected to destructive testing but donated to the Good Professors and the Mechanical Engineering Department there.  This will be the final chapter in this ongoing saga of “Building with Pasta” series.  I sincerely hope that somewhere, somehow, at sometime, someone was or will be informed by it, or made to laugh at it, or possibly be surprised by the findings in it and or just be entertained by all of it.  Sincerely,

Corporal Willy

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